Family Old World Orioles (Oriolidae)

Least Concern

Western Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus brachyrynchus)


French: Loriot à tête noire German: Dschungelpirol Spanish: Oropéndola cabecinegra
Other common names: Western Oriole

Oriolus brachyrynchus


, 1837,

Sierra Leone


Sister to O. chlorocephalus, based on genetic data#R (but O. crassirostris not sampled). Has frequently been misspelt brachyrhynchus#R (as in HBW). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. b. brachyrynchus Swainson, 1837 – rainforests in E Guinea-Bissau, SW Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and SW Benin.
  • O. b. laetior Sharpe, 1897 – rainforests in S Nigeria and Cameroon E to Central African Republic, extreme SW & S South Sudan, W, C & S Uganda (and patchily in E), extreme W Kenya and extreme NW Tanzania, S to Gabon, N Angola and SW, SC & E DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    21 cm; 42–57 g. Male nominate race has head and neck to upper breast glossy black, hindneck and uppermost mantle yellowish, rest of upperparts uniform bright yellowish... read more


    Song repertoire of nominate race extensive (more than 50 variations recorded), e.g. a rich, mellow... read more


    Primary forest and mature secondary forest, forest edge, treefall gaps, clearings with shrubs and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, especially caterpillars, also e.g. beetles (Coleoptera), spiders (Araneae), bugs (Hemiptera), large orthopterans; also large... read more


    Displays in Dec and Mar, developed gonads Aug–Dec and Mar, copulation seen in Oct, nest-building in Mar, May–Jun and Nov, and... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common and widespread in its range of c. 2,300,000 km². Estimated densities 0·08–0·15 pairs/ha in high... read more

    Recommended citation

    Walther, B. & Jones, P. (2018). Western Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus brachyrynchus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 October 2018).