ORCHARD ORIOLE

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Orchard Oriole breeding male has a black head, neck and throat. Breast and under parts are dark orange-red. Back, wings and tail are black. Wings have a white band and edges. immature males have olive upper parts and yellowish under parts with a black throat. Female has olive upper parts, yellow under parts and a grey bill.Bill is black on top, grey under. Eyes are black. Legs are grey. Bird length is about 15 cm (6 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Icterus-spurius
NAME: ‘Oriole’ means ‘golden’. Latin genus name ‘Icterus’ refers both to a yellow bird and the disease jaundice. Latin species name ‘spurius’ was given to this species as the result of an error in identifying the Baltimore Oriole female as the male of this species (Choate).
HABITAT: Orchards, forest edges or clearings, parks.
DIET: Insects, berries, nectar.
NESTING: Nest is a hanging bowl in a tree, woven with plant material. Usually four or five light blue eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in eastern half of the USA and central Mexico. Winters on the southwest coast of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Central America and the north tip of South America.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchard_oriole#/media/File:Icterus_spurius_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings ‘accidental’ (see note below on ‘Vagrancy’) in spring and summer.
CONSERVATION: Population widespread, currently not considered at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Baltimore Oriole, Bullock’s Oriole
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchard_oriole
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/orchard-oriole (Missouri Department of Conservation)
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBXB9070 (Montana Field Guide)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Icterus_spurius/ (University of Michigan)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchard_oriole
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/orchard-oriole/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=OROR&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/orchard-oriole
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/564/overview/Orchard_Oriole.aspx

Orchard Oriole, male - Texas - Apr. 2011 - photo by Dan Pancamo
Orchard Oriole, male – Texas – Apr. 2011 – photo by Dan Pancamo
Orchard Oriole, female - Huntington Beach State Park, SC - June 2014 - photo by Gareth Rasberry
Orchard Oriole, female – Huntington Beach State Park, SC – June 2014 – photo by Gareth Rasberry
Orchard Oriole, 1st summer male - Boy Scout Woods, High Island, TX - Apr. 2018 - photo by Bettina Arrigoni
Orchard Oriole, 1st summer male – Boy Scout Woods, High Island, TX – Apr. 2018 – photo by Bettina Arrigoni

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