Oriole - Oriolidae
Return To Index page Cuckooshrike Triller Flycatcher-Shrike Minivet

This is a wide grouping that encompasses  a variety of birds under different names of various sizes.

Birds included in this grouping would be the Orioles, Cuckooshrikes, Triller, Flycatcher-Shrikes and Minivet. So this broad group has 111 species in the whole world with 27 species in South East Asia. Then narrowing down to those birds exclusively named as Oriole, there would be 7 species. Of which 6 can be seen in Malaysia and here they are:-

Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
Black Oriole Oriolus hosii
Black-and-crimson Oriole Oriolus cruentus
Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii

All of them are fairly large birds with roundish body and rather short tail. They are suppose to be feeding in the upper canopy on insects. Most Orioles I have seen and shown in this series are fruits eaters. That would also be the time the birds remained at that one place  for a while.

Finally, the one Oriole that is very familiar to us - the commonly seen Black-naped Oriole is associated with rich orange-yellow and black color


1. Black-hooded Oriole   Oriolus xanthornus

Size & diagnostic markings:- 24 cm

The Black-hooded oriole is 24 cm long.

The bird again has that golden yellow all round its body. very prominent would be a black hood and a thick black border on the wings. The bill is pinkish orange.

The female has on its back portion, a slight shade of pale green, loosing that complete orange body. No picture of the female on this page.

 Distribution :-

 The bird is resident in the Indian sub-continent south-west China, Sumatra and Borneo. The bird is not seen on mainland peninsula Malaysia at all.

Habitats & preferences:-

 This is a lowland bird of the forest edge preferring more open country with sparse vegetation

 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-

The only place to see this bird is in on the main island of Pulau Langkawai A small family of s few birds could be located at the south-western corner and making its appearances in the morning session. Even spotted, the birds would be rather high on the bare branches of the canopy.


Record of bird's calls:-    and Videos:-

More pictures of this Black-hooded Orole


Black-hooded Oriole    # 1

Black-hooded Oriole  # 2

Black-hooded Oriole # 3

Black-hooded Oriole    # 4

Black-hooded Oriole  # 5

Black-hooded Oriole # 6

Black-hooded Oriole    # 7

Black-hooded Oriole  # 8

Black-hooded Oriole # 9

Black-hooded Oriole    # 10

Black-hooded Oriole  # 11

Black-hooded Oriole # 12

Black-hooded Oriole    # 13

Black-hooded Oriole  # 14

Black-hooded Oriole # 15

Black-hooded Oriole    # 16

Black-hooded Oriole  # 17

Black-hooded Oriole # 18

Black-hooded Oriole    # 19

Black-hooded Oriole  # 20

Black-hooded Oriole # 21


 My personal jottings on the Black Hooded Oriole:-

The Black-hooded Oriole at is a medium size member of the family  Their activities and where about on the island for the rest of the day is unknown is still a mystery.

The bird prefers bare branches/boughs in the canopy level which explains why all the pictures taken have the bird over head. In my encounters, saw the birds moving in pairs. The bird do make occasional calls to signify its presence. When the birds showed up they would remain perched in that vicinity for some time. This is good as opportunity of meeting up with them is better and not restricted to a narrow window.



2. Black-naped Oriole   Oriolus chinensis maculatus


Size - diagnostic markings:- 26 Cm

The Black-naped Oriole 26 cm is very common in the urban as well as the rural areas. Same as the Black-hooded, it has a golden yellow body with a broad stripe at the edge of the wings. Instead of a black hood it has a black band across the eyes stretching to the rear of the head. The bill is also pinkish. Again the female is marked by a slight tinge on her back. making her less orange

 Distribution :-

 This bird is resident in the Andaman, then far east into Taiwan the Sundas, Philippines and Sulawesi

This time this bird is a common resident in peninsula Malaysia. A rather prolific species

Habitats & preferences:-

 This is a lowland bird of forest edge, open country and public parks. Not forgetting to mention domestic gardens

 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-

Anyone staying in Malaysia with some interest in birds would have known this bird. So there is no need to mention place they could be seen. For new comer to this hobby, go to any park as often as possible. Chances of seeing them is more than good.



Videos:- nesting fledgling feeding

Record of bird's calls :-    


More pictures of this Black-naped Oriole


Black-naped Oriole    # 1

Black-naped Oriole   # 2

Black-naped Oriole   # 3

Black-naped Oriole    # 4

Black-naped Oriole   # 5

Black-naped Oriole   # 6

Black-naped Oriole    # 7

Black-naped Oriole   # 8

Black-naped Oriole   # 9

Black-naped Oriole    # 10

Black-naped Oriole   # 11

Black-naped Oriole   # 12

Black-naped Oriole  # 13

Black-naped Oriole # 14

Black-naped Oriole # 15

Black-naped Oriole# 16

Black-naped Oriole  # 17

Black-naped Oriole # 18

Black-naped Oriole  # 19

Black-naped Oriole  # 20

Black-naped Oriole # 21


 My personal jottings on this Black-naped Oriole:-

The bird needs no introduction in Malaysia. This is our typical bird of the garden, noisy and perpetually around. It is bird of the backyards, public park and open fields. heard the bird before seeing it fly past.

They prefer fruits and stay on fences and hen trees are around, in the middle to upper storey to make their calls. nesting is done in the upper storey at the fringes of tree crown.

The Black-napped Oriole set the standard for beginners to start chasing birds. Being such a common bird also portray a deceiving impression that Orioles in general are easy birds to spot. Sometimes, they are very daring in appearing in open branches then in another contradictory situation, they may be well hidden and calling loudly. Overall these are good size birds and nice to meet up with.

From pictures posted, one point becomes clear. This is one good example to show how the hue of the orange varies from deep orange to bright yellow. In actual situation, the bright yellow hue on the bird is very consistent. Do not be misled by the color seen on this page



3. Black-&-Crimson Oriole   Oriolus cruentus malayanus


Size - diagnostic markings:- 24 Cm

The Black & Crimson Oriole has a glossy bluish black body with a large crimson patch from the breast to the belly. Another small patch of crimson on the primary coverts. The bill is pale bluish. Many a times, when unable to detect the crimson patch, the bird is ID by its bills.

The female do not have those crimson patches and breast slightly pale gray.

 Distribution :-

 This is a bird from the Greater Sundas.

In Malaysia, the bird is a permanent resident of the mountain.

Habitats & preferences:-

 This is a forest bird of the sub-montane environment

 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-

The bird is fairly common and mostly seen in Frasers Hills. But in other place with same environment like the Old Pump House Road, the bird also did make its appearances.



Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos:- female

More pictures of this Black-&-Crimson Oriole

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  #1

Black-&-CrimsonOriole  # 2

Black-&-Crimson  female   # 3

female Oriole # 4

female Oriole  # 5

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  # 6

Black-&-Crimson female   # 7

Black-&-Crimson female  # 8

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  # 9

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  #10

Black-&-Crimson female  # 11

Black-&-Crimson  female   # 12

Black-&-Crimson Oriole # 13

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  # 14

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  # 15

Black-&-Crimson  female   # 16

Crimson & black  female  # 17

Black-&-Crimson Oriole  # 18


Crimson & black  female   # 19

Black-&-Crimson female  # 20

Black-&-Crimson female  # 21


 My personal jottings on the Black & Crimson Oriole :-

Among the birds that we could see, this is the only odd Oriole bird out of the pack having deep red instead of bight yellow. Marginally this smaller than the commonly seen Black-naped, the Black-&-Crimson oriole at 24 cm long has a more roundish body.

This is a sub-montane bird seen more often in Frasers Hills than other resorts areas. The females are more daring feeding in the open and so often sighted. Not clear whether there is a larger female population or the male. Or could it be that the male are discreet and perhaps more evasive having got sight of human presence. The female more accommodating is frequently seen while long time searching that the male spotted at odd occasions.

In the sub-montane region, there are very few orchards and few gardens. All round the hill resort areas are forest, therefore it is difficult to assess the type of diets that the birds are going for . Likewise difficult to assess where would the bird would normally be showing itself. The birds choose middle to upper storey. It does descend to lower level and was seen among scrubs with bird waves.

Unlike other Orioles, this bird hardly calls and not giving away its presence in the area.



4. Dark-throated Oriole    Oriolus xanthonotus


Size - diagnostic markings:- 20 Cm

The Dark-throated Oriole is a small Oriole at 20 cm long. The upper part this time is plain yellow while the under part is white and heavily streaked in black. Diagnostic would be its black hood and wings. The bill is more red than pinkish.

The birds in the pictures below with out the black hood could be either female or juvenile, separated by the deeper red bill as female.

 Distribution :-

 This is a bird from the Greater Sundas and and Palawan. It is also a resident of peninsula Malaysia


Habitats & preferences:-

 This is a lowland forest birds. Normally remain unseen in the canopy level.


In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-

So the bird is found in most heavily forested area with a road running through. Next time, if you out looking for this bird, remember it is not where in Malaysia you should be but rather, focus on hearing that call that bird makes. If it is there, then it is a matter of time. Not hearing any calls, go on to the next location.



Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos:-


More pictures of this Dark-throated Oriole


female Oriole  # 1

female Oriole # 2

Dark throated Oriole # 3

female Oriole  # 4

Dark throated Oriole  # 5

Dark throated Oriole # 6

female Oriole  # 7

Dark throated Oriole  # 8

Dark throated Oriole # 9

Dark throated Oriole # 10

Dark throated Oriole  # 11

Dark throated Oriole # 12

Dark throated Oriole  # 13

Dark throated Oriole # 14

Dark throated Oriole # 15

Dark throated Oriole # 16

Dark throated Oriole  # 17

Dark throated Oriole # 18

Dark throated Oriole  # 19

Dark throated Oriole  # 20

Dark throated Oriole # 21


 My personal jottings on this Dark-throated Oriole:-

The  Dark-throated Oriole is the smallest bird of the family at 20 cm.

The bird moving about alone prefers the canopy and upper storey. The monotone calls are used signal the presence of the bird unfortunately, its habit of operating at high level plus among the foliages, makes it impossible to trace its exact whereabouts. This unfortunately is the habitats that the bird prefers. Not until the bird momentarily shift position.

Luckily this is a fairly common forest bird. So it would be difficult to spot and confirm its ID but thanks to the bird constant calling, that helps in pin pointing its where about and identity.

During the fruiting season, here it is shown that the produce from the Marcaranga tree is among its favorite. The only time that I saw the bird descending onto the lower trees.



Once more I say that the Orioles in this country are misleading bird. First the dramatically common Black-naped Oriole, fairly large size prominently yellow bird is almost every where and nosily calling. But comes the time to track them, it is not that easy to meet up with one.

Then for those wishing to track down the 3 Orioles, which according to my opinion are common birds in this country, should be as easy task. Well not ready!

As for the Black-&-Crimson or the Dark-throated Orioles, both are also common birds in their own habitats. But it is not easy to meet up with them for one reasons or another. That's why !