British Wildlife Wiki

The Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) is the only member of the oriole family of passerine birds breeding in northern hemisphere temperate regions. It is a summer migrant in Europe and western asia and spends the winter season in the tropics.

Golden orioles have an extremely large range with large populations that are apparently stable. Therefore, they are evaluated as Least concern by Birdlife international.


The male is striking in the typical oriole black and yellow plumage, but the female is a drabber green bird. Orioles are shy, and even the male is remarkably difficult to see in the dappled yellow and green leaves of the canopy.

In flight they look somewhat like a thrush, strong and direct with some shallow dips over longer distances.


Golden orioles are native to Europe, Asia and Africa. Their range spans from Portugal, Spain and France across Scandinavia to Poland, Russia, the Balkans, Turkey and West Asia to the Caucasus up to Mongolia and China, as well as Pakistan, Himalayan range states and Sri Lanka. In the UK they are passage migrants. They do breed but restricted to the Norfolk, Suffolk fens. The RSPB Lakenheath Fen reserve is perhaps the best place to see them. They are vagrant in Sao Tomé and Principe, Congo, Gabon, Niger, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Seychelles, Faroe Islands, Iceland and in Ireland.


They inhabit tall deciduous trees in woodland, orchards or parks and spend much of their time in tree canopies. At RSPB Lakenheath in the UK they are confined to remnants of Poplar plantation where they breed.

They feed on insects and fruit. They build neat nests in tree forks and lay 3-6 eggs.

Their call is a screech like a jay, but the song is a beautiful fluting weela-wee-ooo or or-iii-ole, unmistakable once heard.