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Altamira Oriole - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Glen Tepke
Salineno, Texas, USA, March 2005
Icterus gularis


Adult, sexes virtually identical

  • Large, heavily built (largest oriole in the USA)
  • Mostly orange and black
  • Very deep-based bill
    • Straight culmen
    • Pale flash at base of lower mandible short
  • Black bib "attaches" to corner of bill
  • Black lores
  • Black tail and mantle
  • Black wings
    • Lesser coverts same color as body
    • tip of greater coverts, base of primaries and some feather edges white
Immature bird. Photo © by njlarsen
Salineno, Texas, USA, January 2012

Immature (1st basic plumage) is similar to adult but:

  • Less strongly orange
  • Mantle often greenish or greenish-greyish
  • Lesser coverts with white tips producing a second wing bar


North and Central America: found from extreme southern Texas and north-eastern Mexico south to Nicaragua.


Polytypic. Consists of six subspecies. [1]

  • I. g. tamaulipensis:
  • Southern Texas (lower Rio Grande Valley) to south-eastern Mexico (Campeche)
  • I. g. flavescens:
  • Coastal south-western Mexico (Guerrero)
  • I. g. yucatanensis:
  • South-eastern Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula), Cozumel Island and extreme northern Belize
  • I. g. gularis:
  • I. g. troglodytes:
  • I. g. gigas:


Nest with adult bird next to it
Photo © by njlarsen
Las Coloradas Rd, Yucatan, Mexico, May 2012

Nests in open woodlands.



Seasonally monogamous and may be for life. They are almost always seen in pairs.

Nest is a very long woven pouch, attached to the end of a horizontal tree branch. Nest building starts as early as March usually producing one brood per season. However, more southerly populations can produce a second brood. In the event that they brood a second time, a second nest is always built.


This bird forages high in trees, sometimes in the undergrowth. They mainly eat insects and berries.


Swift, strong flight on rapid wing beats.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.

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