- The Oilbird is the only nocturnal, flying, fruit-devouring bird in the world (the Kakapo comes close but they don’t fly)
- In order to see in the darkness of the night, the Oilbird will rely on echolocation (yup, just like a bat)
- This nocturnal bird is known to be a colonial nester and believe it or not creates a nest from their droppings
One of the Few Birds to Utilize Echolocation
Considering the Oilbird is one of the few birds known to use echolocation (and the only nocturnal one known to do so), we had better take a minute to learn more about this unique behaviour. So yes, the Oilbird is capable of emitting a high-pitched clicking sound that presents them with a nice, clear picture of their surroundings. Interestingly enough, unlike the frequency used by bats, we can actually hear this bird’s squeaky call. Granted, it may be a little eerie to hear a very high-pitched sound coming from the trees in the middle of the night, especially in South America where there are deadly creatures around every corner.
A Rough Start to Life
Okay, so we know this bird is a little different than most as they are nocturnal, use echolocation and apparently build a nest out of their own droppings. I wish I could tell you that I was making this last one up but alas, I am not. I guess we need to set up the context first. You see, the Oilbird is known to be a colonial nester, which means they like to be part of a large crowd when they nest. Not only do they like to have friends and family close by but they also seek the protection of caves when nesting (yes, I am sure this is a bird and not a bat…although, it does have a lot of bat-like properties…okay, I am not sure anymore ). Getting back to their nest. Since there are a ton of birds sitting in a cave, you can imagine just how much “nesting material” would be around. So the birds construct a nice dropping nest and lay 2-4 small, white eggs. I can just imagine the look on the newborn birds face when it realizes they are sitting in bird poop – not the best way to start your day!