Category
A
Status
Rare
Breeding status
First Record
1803
Last Recorded
2005

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus


Golden Oriole photographed at Rue Des Bergers on 19/5/2015. Photo: © Albert Harvey
  Golden Oriole photographed at Rue Des Bergers on 19/5/2015 Photo: © Albert Harvey (visit site)

Breeds across most of Europe from Portugal, Spain and France, eastwards across the rest of the western Palearctic. It is largely absent from Scandinavia and very small numbers breed in the UK.

Golden Orioles may well have bred in the Guernsey, during the early- and mid-parts of the 19th century. Smith never saw birds in Guernsey but he put an appeal in the Guernsey Star and a reply from MacCulloch indicated that it occurred occasionally, even though he had not seen it personally. At that time, it was also known from Sark where a bird was caught in a net on 1 May 1886. It was subsequently kept but died later in captivity.

Georges Métvier, Guernsey's national poet, made many references to orioles, as well as many other species of birds, animals and plants in his earlier works. MacCulloch went to interview him in 1878, shortly after Smith's appeal, and wrote to Smith 'I had a very satisfactory interview with Mr Georges Métvier. He is now in his 88th or 89th year. He told me that when he was about thirteen he went to reside with his relations, the Guilles, at St George. There was then a great deal of old timber about the place and a long avenue of oaks, besides three large cherry orchards. One day he was startled by the sight of a male Oriole. He had never seen the bird before... he declares that for several years afterwards they were seen in the oak trees, and that he has not the least doubt that they bred there. One day an old French gentleman of the name of De l'Huiller from the South of France, an emigrant, noticed the birds and made the remark - Ah! Vous avez les loirots ici; nous en avons beaucoup chez nous; ils sont grands gobeurs des cerises.' Smith goes on to say that they were 'grands gobeurs' of many other types of soft fruit and 'I believe them to be very shy, and the absence of wood would account for their not being seen in the present day.'

At the time of Smith's writing, most of the cherry orchards which had been present in Metvier's youth had been cut down and much of the soft fruit, grapes especially, were then grown in greenhouses. He writes '...there is still plenty of unprotected fruit in Guernsey to tempt the Golden Oriole to remain in the Islands, and to bring the wrath and the gun of the gardener both to bear upon him when he is there. This however only shows that from the time spoken of by Mr. Métvier down to the present time very few Golden Orioles could have visited Guernsey, and still fewer remained to breed; for what with their fruit eating propensities and their bright plumage, hardly a bird could have escaped being shot and subsequently making its appearance in the bird stuffers' windows, and affording a subject for a notice in the 'Star' or some other paper. I think therefore, on the whole, that though Guernsey still affords many temptations to the Golden Oriole, and is sufficiently well-wooded to afford shelter to suit its shy and suspicious habits, yet for some reason or other the bird has not visited the Island of late years even as an accidental visitant, or, if so, very rarely.' Taxidermy was popular in Guernsey at that time and Smith is probably correct in saying that it was scarce.

After Smith's publication, Dobson records this bird as an occasional visitor and between the publication of Dobson's book and the start of publication of the Guernsey Bird News, the annual reports in the Transactions list a number of records which show that the Golden Oriole occurred in approximately half the years during that period. In the period under review, Golden Orioles were a rare spring visitor to Guernsey between 1969 with only five records but have since become more regular. Since 1983, birds have been recorded virtually annually, with blank years in 1990 and 1997.

In spring, a few birds occur in the second half of April but it is not until the beginning of May that most birds pass through the islands. The number of birds reported stays high through to the end of May and the beginning of June and then sharply drops away. Records after the second week in June are rare.

The majority of records come wooded areas, especially the Fauxquet and Talbot valleys and at sites along the south coast from Jerbourg and Pleinmont. However, there are scattered records from other sites including the Vale Marais, Herm and Alderney. In coastal areas, records tend to be of birds staying for one or at most two days but in the wooded valleys stays of a week or more are not uncommon and it is possible that these birds would be prospecting. In 1993 and 1994 a pair of birds were recorded for an extended period throughout May in the Fauxquet Valley but are not thought to have bred. With the increase in records throughout the 1990s, it may be only a matter of time until they breed in the islands again. There has been one recovery of a ringed bird caught at the Vale Marais on XX and recovered on XX in XX, France.



View all photos (3)
Golden Oriole photographed at Rue Des Bergers on 19/5/2015. Photo: © Albert Harvey
Golden Oriole photographed at Rue Des Bergers on 19/5/2015. Photo: © Albert Harvey (visit site)

Golden Oriole photographed at Jerbourg [JER] on 10/5/2015. Photo: © Wayne Turner
Golden Oriole photographed at Jerbourg [JER] on 10/5/2015. Photo: © Wayne Turner (visit site)

Golden Oriole photographed at Jerbourg [JER] on 10/5/2015. Photo: © Mark Guppy
Golden Oriole photographed at Jerbourg [JER] on 10/5/2015. Photo: © Mark Guppy (visit site)



View database records (45)
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 6/5/1993 31/5/1993 2
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 5/6/1993 1
Golden Oriole Pleinmont 10/6/1993 2
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 12/5/1994 26/5/1994 2
Golden Oriole Silbe 14/5/1995 1
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 19/5/1995 1
Golden Oriole Pezeries 28/5/1995 1
Golden Oriole Le Gardinet [Unknown site - Talbot Valley or Ruett 28/5/1996 1
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 31/5/1996 2
Golden Oriole Les Landes, SPW 11/6/1996 1
Golden Oriole Pleinmont 16/5/1998 21/5/1998 1-2
Golden Oriole Pleinmont 16/5/2000 2
Golden Oriole Jerbourg 20/5/2002 1
Golden Oriole Pleinmont 20/5/2005 1
Golden Oriole Rue du Closel, VAL 13/6/2005 1
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 19/6/2005 1
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley 3/6/2006 2
Golden Oriole Rue des Bergers [BER] 10/5/2010 1
Golden Oriole route des st andre/st andrew s reservoir 14/5/2010 1
Golden Oriole Les Grantez, CAT [LGZ] 22/5/2010 1
Golden Oriole Les Petites Vallees, CAT [PVC] 24/5/2010 4
Golden Oriole Herm 11/5/2012 1
Golden Oriole Pleinmont [PLE] 13/5/2012 2
Golden Oriole Pleinmont [PLE] 13/5/2012 2
Golden Oriole Trinity [TRI] 13/5/2012 1
Golden Oriole Pleinmont [PLE] 13/5/2012 2
Golden Oriole Talbot Valley [TAL] 14/5/2012 1
Golden Oriole Herm [HER] 26/5/2013 1
Golden Oriole Petit Bot [BOT] 2/6/2013 1
Golden Oriole Talbot Valley [TAL] 17/5/2014 1
Golden Oriole Pezeries [PEZ] 31/5/2014 1
Golden Oriole Pezeries [PEZ] 31/5/2014 1
Golden Oriole Jerbourg [JER] 10/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Val des Terres [VDT] 10/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Jerbourg [JER] 10/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley [FAU] 15/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Rue des Bergers [BER] 17/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Rue Des Bergers 19/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Fauxquets Valley [FAU] 21/5/2015 1
Golden Oriole Rue de la Marette, St Saviour 4/6/2015 1
Golden Oriole Petit Bot [BOT] 15/5/2016 1
Golden Oriole Petit Bot [BOT] 15/5/2016 1
Golden Oriole Alderney Airport 15/5/2016 1
Golden Oriole Rse Farm, Alderney 15/5/2016 1
Golden Oriole Rue des Bergers [BER] 28/5/2016 1