Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)
Description: ADULT MALE Has a black hood, chest, and back, and brick-red underparts and “shoulders.” Wings are black, with a white wing bar and white edges to flight feathers. Rump is brick-red and tail is black. ADULT AND IMMATURE FEMALE Have mostly yellow plumage, grading to olive-yellow on back. Dark wings have two white wing bars and white edges to flight feathers. Rump is yellow and tail is grayish. IMMATURE MALE Has a black face and throat, but otherwise mostly yellow plumage, grading to olive-yellow on back. Dark wings have two white wing bars and white edges to flight feathers.
Voice: Song a rich, whistled warbling with some guttural notes, ending with a slurred “wheer.” Calls include a soft “chuk” and a rapid chatter.
Habitat: Nests in gardens, orchards, suburban areas, along streams and lakes, and in large planted trees near houses. In winter found in tropical forests.
Nesting: 3-7 light blue eggs with blackish markings. The nest is an open cup of woven grass, lined with fine grass, plant down, wool, and feathers, suspended from fork of tree branch far out on limb.
- Only loosely territorial, the Orchard Oriole is often described as a “semicolonial” species in areas of prime habitat, but it is relatively solitary in marginal habitats. In areas of dense nesting, one tree may contain multiple nests.
- The Orchard Oriole is a rather late spring migrant, but it heads back southward quickly. Some orioles may return to their wintering grounds as early as mid-July.
- The Orchard Oriole eats nectar and pollen from flowers, especially during the winter. It is an important pollinator for some tropical tree species, transferring the pollen from flower to flower on its head.