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Orchard Oriole - BirdForum Opus

Adult male
Photo © by steve messick
Crow Valley Recreational Area, Weld County Colorado, 19 June 2004
Icterus spurius

Includes: Ochre Oriole


Photo © by bobsofpa
Fort DeSoto Park, Florida, USA, 24 April 2008

15–17 cm (6-6½ in)
Males are bright chestnut underneath, while the head, back, tail, and wings are black; a thin straight bill.
Females and immatures are olive-green above with two white wing-bars and yellowish underparts; immature males have a dark throat.

Similar Species

Female/young Hooded Orioles can be quite similar, but notice they have a slimmer, longer, more decurved bill and a graduated tail.


Eastern United States from eastern Montana and eastern New Mexico east and north to southern Michigan, central New York, and Massachusetts south into central Mexico; absent from southern Florida. Recent results suggest that at least part of the US population after having bred in early parts of summer migrates to north-western Mexico where a second round of breeding takes place.

Winters in Central America south to Colombia and Venezuela. Rare to casual vagrant in western United States.


First Year Male
Photo © by tetoneon
Northwest New Jersey, 10 June 2011


Two subspecies accepted[1]:

  • I. s. spurius:
  • I. s. fuertesi:
  • Caribbean coast of Mexico (mainly Veracruz), winters on Pacific coast straight S of breeding area, and possibly other places

fuertesi is sometimes split as full species, Ochre Oriole or Fuerte's Oriole.


Open woodland, trees along streams, rivers and lakes, and on farms and parklands. Avoids dense woodland.



Their main diet consists of insects such as flies and ants, with the addition of berries and nectar; also flower parts.


Male, subspecies spurius
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas, USA, 7 April 2018

They construct a deep, hanging cup nest, from grass fibres. It is hidden within dense foliage, often in a cluster of trees. The young fledge 11 to 14 days after hatching.


Song: a musical chirping warble. Best heard in the spring soon after the male arrives.


Long-distance migrant. Almost all migrate to area from S Mexico (Colima and Veracruz) south to northern South America.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Rohwer, S.A., Hobson, K.A., & Rohwer, V.G. (2009). Migratory double breeding in Neotropical migrant birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 45, 19050-5. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908121106
  3. Fraga, R. (2020). Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/62266 on 5 January 2020).
  4. Jaramillo, A., & Burke, P. (1999). New World Blackbirds: The Icterids. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
  5. Scharf, W. C. and J. Kren (2010). Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.255

Recommended Citation

External Links

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