Montserrat orioles come from the island they are named after – Montserrat in the West Indies. They're the island's national symbol.

Originally ours here come from Jersey Zoo after conservationists went to the rescue when much of Montserrat was destroyed by a volcano at the end of the 1990s. It wiped out mountainous forests where these starling-sized Orioles live.

The Jersey team brought back eight surviving birds to begin a breeding programme and save them from dying out forever. They successfully bred them for the first time in a zoo and some of those young Orioles came to Chester, where we now also running a successful breeding programme.

These birds offer a vital safety net against extinction of the species in the wild in the event of further natural disasters or habitat loss.

You can see them in our zoo's Tropical Realm and Islands in Danger exhibits. You'll probably spot the males first as they're glossy black and yellow in colour. The females are olive green.

Look out for their ingenious nests - when it comes to basket weaving there aren't many creatures more skilled than a Montserrat oriole.

They have very fine pointed beaks which they use to weave nests, making a small basket shape under a banana leaf. It's a cool idea because the big leaf acts as an umbrella, shading them from the burning sun. It also keeps them dry when tropical rains fall.

Photograph courtesy of James Morgan.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: Only occur on the tiny Caribbean Island of Montserrat.

Habitat: Damp gullies in the montane and hill rainforest, they build their nests under the leaves of Banana and Heliconia plants.

Diet: Mostly insects and other invertebrates, but also eats some fruit.

Weight: 35 grams

Threats: Loss of habitat due to the massive damage caused by the Soufriere Hills Volcano. Predation of eggs, young and incubating birds by introduced rats. Loss of suitable nest sites, (Banana plants) which are severely damaged or destroyed by feral pigs, which were abandoned by local farmers when the Volcano erupted.

Scientific name: Icterus oberi