Black-naped Oriole    Oriolus  chinensis


  • Oriolus : Latin word for golden oriole derived from aureoles- golden
  • Chinensis : From China

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Chini Peelak, Kash: Poshnul, Ben: Sona bau, Ass: Xakhiati, Guj, Mar: Peelak, Surma Haldya, Te: Vanga pandu, Mal: Manjakkili, Nicobar: Macheon

Distribution in India: Resident of Andaman & Nicobar Islands in India.

Description: Size of 23–28 cm; wt. of 65–100 g. The male of nominate race has head, upperparts and underparts as entirely golden-yellow, apart from black on lores and in broad band through eye and across hindcrown. Most of wing is black, secondary coverts are golden-yellow, primaries are narrowly edged white, tertials are tipped yellow; tail feathers are black, outer pair are with distal half yellow, central pair with yellow tips, other feather pairs with decreasing amount of yellow from outers inwards. The iris is reddish-brown or grey; bill is livid pink, paler on cutting edges and tip; legs are slaty blue. The female is similar to male, but mantle is yellowish-olive. The immature has upperparts yellowish-green, underparts are creamy white with black streaks, undertail-coverts are yellow; bill is black. The races vary extensively in size and colour. Race andamanensis is found in Andaman Islands. It is much smaller, has yellow of crown extending much farther back onto nape, leaving only narrow black hind collar. Race macrourus is found in Nicobar Islands and is slightly smaller than nominate, yellow of crown extending farther back to leave narrower hind collar, wing feathers with narrow yellowish edging, primary coverts tipped yellow forming small yellow wing spot.

Habitat: It is found in primary and secondary evergreen forest, mixed broadleaf forest and deciduous forest, dry land forests, forest edge, forest groves, plantations, parks, orchards, gardens, wooded suburbs; mangroves, coastal forest and scrub, and  scattered trees in open country, along roads and in villages. It is found from lowlands and hills, up to 1600 m.

Food habits: It eats Berries and fruits like papaya, mango, star-fruit, low fruiting ornamental palms, and figs. It also eats insects and their larvae like alate termites, caterpillars, grasshoppers, mantids. It makes a hole in wasp and hornet nests in order to extract larvae. It also eats small vertebrates, including bird nestlings. It forages alone, in pairs or in small groups, usually in canopy. It rarely comes down quite low, when searching for insects and larvae. It sometimes joins mixed-species flocks in fruiting trees. Most prey are taken while perched, but some during hovering. Many insects are habitually wiped on branch before consumption.

Breeding habits: They breed in Apr–Jun in Andaman and Nicobar Island. During the pair formation, male sings and chases after female while chasing away other males. An open cup-nest is built solely by female, male helps in collecting some material. The nest is made of leaves, grasses, strips of bark, straw, rootlets, fine banyan roots, pine needles and small twigs, bound with cobwebs, usually decorated on outside with small climbing  leaves, suspended hammock-like in thin, horizontal forked branch, usually high up and well concealed in well-foliaged tree, and often close to nest of Drongo. They lay a clutch of 2–4 eggs. The incubation period is 14 days. The chicks are tended by both parents.