Eurasian golden oriole in the Sierra de Grazalema

Eurasian Golden Oriole

The powerful fluting whistle followed by a squark of a Eurasian Golden Oriole. This can be heard in forests and lowland wooded areas near to rivers as this is their favoured habitat.

A good place to hear them in the Sierra de Grazalema is the road to Algodonales from Grazalema in the Ribera valley. especially lokk and listen where the Guadalete stream runs into the Zahara reservoir.

Considering the males bright tropical colouring they can be incredibly hard to see when perched in the trees! They meld in with the lights and shadows of the leaves and are shy and very agile with a fast acrobatic and undulating flight.

Similar to a thrush in size and form but the male has a bright yellow body with contrasting black wings and tail. There is a black mark between eye and beak (lore). There are yellow markings on the wing and the bill is reddish.

The females and juveniles are more similar in colouring to a green woodpecker with an olive green back and off-white breast with fine streaks and an overall more pale appearance.

When are they here in Grazalema?

Eurasian Golden Orioles arrive in Iberia in mid April from their wintering grounds in tropical Africa. They chase each other noisily through the trees with great agility.

As well as the beautiful song they also have a very tuneless squawk. Orioles are most visible and audible in the early mornings, becoming quieter through the heat of the day.

Their return migrational journey is mid August through to September.

Insects and berries make up their diet and they have a strong liking for figs for which they are prepared to come out of the tree canopy and warily feed close to habitation. Otherwise they choose areas of very tall trees in which to perch and their nests are also set high in a fork within the canopy.

They can be quite territorial and protective of their nesting area and the males will pursue passing predators such as sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus) from their chastising them constantly.

Hard to get images!

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