Black Hooded Oriole ( Oriolus xanthornus )
It is a member of the Oriole family of Passerine birds and is a resident breeder in Central Park, Kolkata. It is a bird which prefers to be in open woodlands and cultivations. They build their nests mainly on the branches of a tree, and interestingly their nests contain two eggs. It feeds mainly on insects and fruits, especially figs. They are mostly found on the tree canopies where they spend much of their time.
The male is striking, with the typical oriole black and yellow colouration. The plumage is predominantly yellow, with a solid black hood, and black also in the wings and tail centre.
The female black-hooded oriole is a drabber bird with greenish underparts, but still has the black hood. Young birds are like the female, but have dark streaking on the underparts, and their hood is not solidly black, especially on the throat.
Because of its coloration it often easy to spot in green leaves , and as this is a very resident bird ,i have photographed it many times in local areas. The black head of this species is an obvious distinction from Indian golden oriole, which is a summer visitor to northern India. Orioles can be shy, and sometimes the male may be difficult to see in the dappled yellow and green leaves of the canopy.The black hooded oriole lives in common contact with humans in rural and urban areas.
A folk tale from Bengal says that the origin of the bird is from an unfortunate wife of a merchant family. The girl was tortured by her mother-in-law who used to make her starve for the slightest mistake. In one such occasion the girl was starving for two days and yet she had to make pithas (a handmade sweet dish of Bengal). The girl, who could not bear her hunger any more, started eating hot pithas directly from the vessel as her mother-in-law was out of sight. Her garments were already stained by the turmeric paste she used for the cooking of other dishes. Suddenly the mother-in-law came and in utter shock the girl jumped into a nearby pond. She died but the goddess that protects the children made her into a bird with the head covered with black soot from the earthen vessel and body yellow as turmeric paste, the Black Hooded Oriole. For this reason the Bengali name of the bird is “benebou” which means the merchant’s wife.
Call : A descending cheeuw ; ku ray ; a fluty poopeelo
- The bird is shy and not very easy to approach but with caution and patience , one can get close to the bird. But often living with humans they develop more friendly nature
- Due to its yellow coloration and black head it is often easy to spot .
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