Baltimore oriole

Icterus galbula

TAXONOMY

Coracias galbula Linnaeus, 1758, Virginia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Northern oriole, black-backed oriole, Bullock's oriole; French: Oriole de Baltimore; German: Baltimoretrupial; Spanish: Bolsero de Baltimore.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

7-8 in (18-20 cm); female 1-1.4 oz (28-41 g), male 1.1-1.4 oz (31-40 g). Sexually dimorphic in color. Males with a black head, wings, and middle tail feathers, and yellow-orange on the breast, belly, shoulder, and the tips of the tail, with white markings in their wings. Males in their second year resemble females. Females, which are variable, are yellowish or orangish green, usually with some black on the head, and greenish gray wings. Juveniles resemble females, but lack black, and are usually duller in coloration.

DISTRIBUTION

Breeds in eastern North America, from central Alberta and southern Quebec south to northern Louisiana and central Georgia. Winters from central Mexico south to northern South America, Florida, Jamaica, and along the coast of southern California.

pended from the branches of a tree. Generally 4-5 eggs are laid from May to mid-June. Incubation 11-14 days; fledging 11-14 days. Single brooded, but replacement clutches may be produced.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Widespread and common, but numbers declining in many areas. Destruction of suitable habitat for them on the wintering grounds may be affecting numbers.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Can be an important predator on defoliating insects; one of the few birds that eat significant numbers of tent caterpillars (Malacosoma). ♦

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