Black-naped Oriole: Courtship

on 30th March 2008


The Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) is a common resident of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. However, come winter, the population is increased by the arrival of migratory birds from the north.


During the breeding season, the shrill, flute-like whistles of these birds fill the air as the males defend their territories as well as attract females. There may be occasional aerial chases as the birds zig-zag round trees, sometimes ending in midair grappling.

The arrival of a female bird will be aggressively courted by the males, with high-speed aerial chase through and above trees. The birds may be so close that the male may almost touch the tail of the female.

In the case of the Northern Oriole (Zcterus galbula), courtship display consists of the male bowing in front of the female with wings lowered and fanned tail somewhat cocked upwards. The female may respond by either ignoring the male, singing or chattering. She may even lean forward and quiver her wings and vocalise in response.

Have birders from Malaysia and Singapore published any articles on the courtship behaviour of our local species of oriole? Or made any observations? If so, can you please share?

Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman
Raub, Pahang, Malaysia
March 2008

Edinger, B.B. (1988). Extra-pair courtship and copulation attempts in Northern Orioles. The Condor 90:546-54.


If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. Great post (as always)! The photos are phenomenal! It just makes me want to travel there more and more each time I read a post here!

    Good birding to you and thanks for all you do.

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