Oilbird – Mission With A Vision

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Bob-Nan

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Bob-Nan

Oilbird – Mission With A Vision ~ by a j mithra

Oilbird or Guacharo lives in northern South America from Guyana to Peru. The Oilbird ranges locally across much northern South America and down the Andes all the way to Bolivia.

Their plumage is cinnamon brown, with small, white spots. The Oilbird presents a somewhat “hen-ish” or owlish appearance, observant and hesitant when trolling branches; puffy and somnolent when asleep. It is mainly reddish-brown with white spots on the nape and wings. Lower Oilbird parts are brownish color to neutral white. The stiff tail feathers are a rich chestnut brown spotted with white on either side.

This is a large bird at sixteen to nineteen inches with a wing span of three feet. The Oilbird’s flattened hooked bill is surrounded by dark brown bristles up to two inches long.

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Ian

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Ian

It is a bird of tropical and subtropical primary forests. Colonies leave the caves at night to fly to fruiting trees. Figs are often consumed but the Trinidad population has been documented eating over 36 different kinds of fruit. The seeds of these fruit are spread widely after passing through the bird’s system, and the Oilbird is thus an important component of the tropical ecosystems. The forest depends on these fruit eaters — and other animals with similar behavior such as fruit bats — to continue in existence.

  • The existence of Church depends on how far and wide we sow the word of God…
  • God has asked us to spread the gospel over all the earth…

But, the question is have we touched lives which dwell next door or at least to the person who sits next to our table in office ? First of all, we don’t even know the person who sits next to us in church, isn’t it? We’ve been hearing a lot about brotherly love and love your neighbor as thy selves..

  • But, have we ever asked ourselves if we truly love our self?
  • Most so called believers are going through self inflicted injuries and self pity…
  • Maybe that is the reason we are not able to lead a fruitful life..
  • Our fruits are not the fruits which God expects from us…
  • Unless we are fruitful and our lives testify God’s work in us, we may not be able to sow seeds of faith among our fellow beings…

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Mathew 7:18-20)

It is a seasonal migrant, moving from breeding caves to fertile wild land fruit trees. Oilbirds plump up possibly half their body weight again before the breeding migration, an intelligent habit as caves will provide little nutrition and parents will not want to leave the nest.

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Judd Patterson

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Judd Patterson

Seasonally, the oilbird lives in forests to gather nutrition and store up for breeding. Then the oilbird will migrate from the forest and woodland to within breeding areas within caves. Both parents share the task of incubating the clutch of two to four eggs for about 33 days, and the nestlings stay put for up to four months.

Oilbirds feed their young exclusively on fruit pulp. This is very unusual because an all-fruit diet would not normally provide adequate nutrition or baby birds. The young nestlings grow fat (even half as heavy again as their parents)—causing the literal downfall of many!

These birds seem to know the importance of storing nutrition for migration and breeding that’s why they provide adequate nutrition for their babies…

  • We as Christian parents, do we take care to nourish our children with spiritual food?
  • We tell them stories about the five who went to buy oil at the last minute..
  • But are we insisting upon our kids to get ready to meet the King?

These young oilbirds are heavier than their parents, how healthy are our children in spirituality?

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (III John : 1)

The wings of the oilbird control aerial maneuvers. The Oilbird’s small feet are somewhat useless, other than for positioning and alignment to vertical surfaces.  The oilbird’s hovering, twisting flight allows the bird to navigate the route and “hallways” of the caves. Oilbirds echo-locate (like bats) inside caves but use their huge eyes once they leave the communal roosts.

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) ©©Flickr - dominic sherony

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) ©©d.sherony

They apparently have excellent night vision. Rows of bristles protect the eyes both above and below. They fly with fast with primary tips widely spaced (like New World vultures) but have the ability to fly slowly or even hover. They can range quite a distance in search of fruit. Radio telemetry studies have shown their normal range per night is 40 kms (25 mi) but they have traveled as far as 150 km (93 mi) in a single night. They may find fruit by smell. These birds travel so long in a single night in search of fruits..

This reminds of how Jesus had come from heaven to earth in search of fruits from us isn’t it?

  • He expects us to give fruits at all seasons…
  • Do we have fruits to offer 24 x 7 or just seasonal?

And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Matthew 3:10)

Studies have shown that all the fruit they eat is spicy or aromatic when ripe. Oilbirds nest in large colonies on high, rocky ledges, often a good distance into the cave. They build their cone-shape nests from a mixture of regurgitated fruit pulp, their droppings and undigested seeds. Oilbird nestlings retain food in their intestines for longer than normal, enabling them to extract all the nutrients which they need in order to thrive on fruit. For instance, they are able to extract 80% of the lipids (fats) from their diet.

  • We eat lots of the THE FIRST, which is the WORD OF GOD…
  • But, do we extract all the nutrients of THE WORD by meditating on what we read?
  • Do we eat THE WORD in haste? Or is it a ritual that we need to practice every day?
  • The Word of God has the power to heal, to cleanse, and to encourage and so on…
  • How do we handle it?

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4: 12)

Just like bats (and many sea mammals), Oilbirds emit clicking calls in rapid succession and listen to the returning echoes. This means that, in the pitch blackness of their cave home, they can fly around without bumping into the cave walls or each other.

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Bob-Nan

Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) by Bob-Nan

At dusk, they leave the cave to find food and their echolocation system works together with their keen smell and super-sensitive vision, helping them to snatch nuts and small fruits in mid-flight without needing to land. In fact it is thought that they never perch during foraging trips, using instead their ability to hover while feeding.

The eyes of oilbirds are highly specialized for their unique lifestyle. While not apparently designed for distinguishing colour, it has recently been discovered that they are extraordinarily sensitive to light—a great advantage to a bird that ‘breaks all the rules’ by being nocturnal. This incredible light-sensitivity is achieved by each of the oilbird’s eyes having a large pupil, enabling them to gather the maximum amount of light and millions of densely packed rods, the  photoreceptor cells.

God had created these birds with excellent night vision for them to travel long distance in search of food..

But, we are so privileged that we have God Himself as our light to show us the way during our dark times..

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

These unique Oilbirds dwell in caves, has dolphin-like sonar, navigates like a bat, has eyes like a deep-sea fish, can hover like a kingfisher, finds its food by smell and can be boiled up to make oil…

The eyes of these birds are extremely sensitive to light and that is the reason that they are able to break all rules by being a nocturnal…

This world will see us also as very special when we are sensitive to THE LIGHT..

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. (Luke 11:34-36)

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at: Crosstree


What a neat bird, a j. I am also going to add this to the “Formed By Him” series. The Creator has really designed this very unique and useful bird for His Glory.

The Oilbirds are the only family members of the Steatornithidae – Oilbird Family which are in the Caprimulgiformes Order. They keep company there with the Frogmouths, Potoos and Nightjar families.

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