Black-hooded Oriole    Oriolus   xanthornus


  • Oriolus : Latin word for golden oriole derived from aureoles- golden
  • Xanthornus : Greek word xanthos –yellow; ornis – bird

Vernacular Names : Hindi: Topidar Peelak, Zardak, Pirola, U.P.: Pahari topidar peelak, Ben: Bene bau, Halde pakhi, Ass: Xakhiati, Guj: Kala mathano pilak, Shyamshir pilak, Ta: Mambala kuruvi, Te: Konda vanga pandu, Mal: Manjakaruppan, Kan: Kari taleya suvarna pakshi, Sinh: Kaha kurulla, Woraka maddula, Mar: Burkhadhari Haldya

Distribution in India: Resident of Central, East, South and North east of India and Western Ghats.

Description: Size of 23–25 cm; wt. of 46–79 g. The male of nominate race has head, neck and upper chest as glossy black, rest of body and upperwing-coverts are bright golden-yellow. The  rest of wing is black, primaries are narrowly edged whitish and tipped yellowish. The primary coverts, secondaries and tertials are black with yellow edging. The tail feathers have basal half yellow, distal half black with golden-yellow tips, three outer rectrices sometimes entirely golden-yellow. The iris is red; bill is pink; legs are grey.  The female is like male, but duller above. The immature is like adult, but forehead with yellowish streaks (sometimes completely yellow), whitish eyering, outer half of central tail feathers are dark olive-green, throat is dusky white with dark streaks. Race maderaspatanus is smaller than nominate, yellow on inner secondaries and tertials reduced to terminal spots; race ceylonensis is smallest, and similarly has reduced yellow on inner secondaries and tertials; race reubeni is small,  deeper yellow; race tanakae has four outer tail feathers entirely yellow.

Habitat : It is found in Dry  forest and mixed deciduous moist woodlands, open semi-evergreen and evergreen forests, swamp-forest, mangroves, mature second growth, forest edge, scrub, plantations, orchards, mango groves, avenue trees, parks, village groves, gardens, and other cultivated areas. It is Found below 1800 m .

Food Habits:  They eat berries and fruits, especially figs, peepal , nectar  and insects like bugs, weevils ants, moths and hairy caterpillars, and flying termites. The nestlings are fed with gnats and other small insects, later with small caterpillars. It forages alone, in pairs or, after breeding season, in small flocks; sometimes joins mixed-species flocks. It feeds generally high in trees; sometimes descends to ground to take insects.

Breeding Habits: They breed throughout year peaks in April–August, usually two or more broods per season. Courtship displays include frequent aerial chases and high pitched calls by male. The nest is a deep cup  built by both sexes. the nest is made up of leaves, grasses, thin strips of bark and other vegetable fibers, lined with very fine twigs or grasses, decorated on outside with lichens, woolly fibers, leaves, bark flakes and suspended hammock-like in thin, horizontal forked branch at various heights, usually high in outer edge of well-foliage tree canopy, and often close to nest of Black Drongo. They lay a clutch of 2-4 eggs. Both male and female incubate the eggs and the chicks are born Precocial (with open eyes and down feathers). Both parents do the duty of feeding the chicks. The chicks fledge within 3 weeks and leave the nest post fledging within 21 days.

Popular Myth in West Bengal connects the bird to a merchant’s wife, that is why it is called as  “Benebou” which means the merchant’s wife