Saturday, November 17, 2012

Golden Oriole

Golden Oriole | The golden oriole (also known as the Eurasian oriole), is a small species of bird found throughout Europe and western Asia. The golden oriole's name is thought to have arisen during the 18th century after the classical Latin word meaning gold. Although almost indistinguishable in appearance, some believe that the golden orioles found in Europe, are actually a separate sub-species to those found in Asia. They are also known to be the only member of the oriole family that breeds in the more temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

The golden oriole is predominantly found throughout Europe and western Asia but also in parts of Africa. The golden oriole is a summer migrant meaning that it migrates north for the cooler summer climates, and flies back south to the tropics when the winter begins to emerge. The golden oriole is nearly always found in well-timbered forests and woodland, along with parks, orchards and gardens. They spend the majority of their time high in the tree canopy where their distinctive plumage helps them to remain hidden from lurking predators.

Due to it's excellent camouflage amongst the leaves, and it's shy nature, the golden oriole is an almost impossible bird to spot. However, it is it's unmistakable song that alerts all around to it's presence, which is said to sound very fluty and can be heard over considerable distances. Their basic calls however are often compared to the screech of a jay, but both are used to communicate with other golden orioles inhabiting the surrounding forest. The golden oriole is a migratory and generally quite solitary bird, but can be seen migrating, often under the cover of night, in large flocks.

The golden oriole is an omnivorous animal that primarily feeds on insects, fruits and seeds high up in the tree canopy. The relatively thick, slightly curved beak of the golden oriole is the perfect shape for picking insects out of holes and plucking fruits off the branches. The golden oriole also has wide, clawed feet which assist the bird in holding onto the more tricky branches when it is trying to gather food. They also play a vital role in re-distributing the seeds from the fruits, throughout their native eco-systems.

The people living in the northern parts of Europe, are known to be able to predict the start of spring with the coming of the golden oriole. The golden orioles inhabiting more western European regions, are known to migrate as far south as Namibia and South Africa when the winter begins to set in. Despite that the golden oriole was thought to have been properly named in the 18th century, it is thought that the Romans could have been calling them Orioles as early as the 12th century.

The golden oriole has been listed as being an animal that is of Least Concern of imminent extinction in the wild, as even though their territories are shrinking, populations generally seem to be stable. The golden orioles found across Asia are known to be decreasing slightly in number, but it is thought that those found in Europe, actually seem to be on the rise.

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