Baltimore OrioleIcterus galbula

adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
adult female
James M. Wedge/VIREO
immature male (1st yr)
Barth Schorre/VIREO
immature female (1st yr)
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult male
Greg Lasley/VIREO
Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

Description

7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm). Male has black head, back, wings, and tail; orange breast, rump, and shoulder patch. Female olive-brown, with dull yellow-orange underparts and two dull white wing bars.

Voice

Clear and flute-like whistled single or double notes in short, distinct phrases with much individual variation.

Listen

nasal begging calls of fledglings
two note calls & simple whistles
chatter calls & harsh song
songs & whistles #1
songs & whistles #2
songs #1
songs & whistles #3
encounter calls #1
chatter of immatures
songs #2
encounter calls #2

Habitat

Deciduous woodlands and shade trees. Before the tree's decline, the American elm was a favorite nesting site for the eastern bird.

Range

Breeds from Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia south through Dakotas south to eastern Texas, Louisiana, and Virginia. Winters in Florida and southern Atlantic coast.

Discussion

Recently the Baltimore Oriole was separated from the more western Bullock's Oriole. When trees were planted on the Great Plains, the two forms extended their ranges and met. Despite the differences in their appearance, it was found that they interbred, and that most birds in the central plains were hybrids, so the birds were combined into a single species called the Northern Oriole. Now, it seems that in some places the birds are choosing mates of their own type, and they are considered separate species again.

Nesting

4-6 grayish eggs, spotted and scrawled with dark brown and black. Nest a well-woven pendant bag of plant fibers, bark, and string, suspended from the tip of a branch.

Similar Species

adult male

American Redstart

4 1/2-5 1/2" (11-14 cm). Male black with bright orange patches on wings and tail; white belly. Females and young birds dull olive-brown above, white below, with yellow wing and tail patches.

adult male

Bullock's Oriole

7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm). Male crown, eye line, throat stripe, back, wings, and central tail black; large white wing patch; much of head, eyebrow, underparts, and outer tail feathers orange.

adult male

Scott's Oriole

7 1/2-8 1/4" (19-21 cm). Male has black head, mantle, throat, and central breast area; bright lemon-yellow underparts, rump, and outer tail feathers.

adult male

Streak-backed Oriole

7 1/2-9" (19-23 cm). Similar to Hooded Oriole, in whose range it may occur.

Vireo

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