Olive-backed Orioles foraging on the ground

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Subject: Olive-backed Orioles foraging on the ground
From: "Dr Richard Nowotny" <>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 23:41:30 +1000
I am used to seeing (or at least hearing and attempting to see) Olive-backed
Orioles in small numbers in southern Victoria high in trees in suitable
woodland. However, today I observed for the first time 2 quite separate
birds (possibly 3) foraging on the ground in fields around the You Yangs
(near Geelong, VIC). In both cases the birds were feeding on quite large
caterpillars taken from the ground, taking them back to a low perch to
devour them.

Having not observed this behaviour before I sought the assistance of HANZAB
(Vol 7, p370) where, under the heading FOOD, sub-heading Behaviour, it
states (inter alia):

"Poorly known. Mainly arboreal; usually forage in dense foliage in canopy of
trees, often in fruiting trees (such as fig Ficus) but also often in
eucalypts (when usually taking arthropods); occasionally come close to
ground or take prey from ground." (My emphasis.)

With these birds having only very recently arrived in their breeding
territories after a migration of ? some considerable distance (and
commensurate energy expenditure) I wondered if this apparently infrequent
feeding behaviour might be more common at this time as they attempt to
refuel rapidly prior to commencing nest-building, breeding, etc.

I welcome comments from those more educated/knowledgeable than I about such
matters (which basically means all the relevant scientists and many
experienced field observers!).


Port Melbourne, Victoria

M: 0438 224456



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