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Streak-backed Oriole - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, November, 2011
Icterus pustulatus


20cm. Bright orange body, with black streaks on back, deep orange-red head and breast, black face, chin, black wings with two white bars and white base to primaries, black tail with white corners. The culmen is straight.
The female and immature show more yellow/less orange than the male, and even show some yellow on the tail.


Males of some subspecies have wider black stripes on the back sometimes giving the impression of a solid black mantle.

Photo © by blubird
San Blas, Mexico, March, 2011
Photo © by Stanley Jones
La Ensenada Lodge, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, July 2023

Similar Species

The Altamira Oriole, with which it shares range, has solid black mantle instead of black streaks. It also has orange instead of the upper white wing bar.


Mainly along the Pacific slope from sea level to 1800m. of Mexico south to Costa Rica. A rare winter visitor to Southern California and southern Arizona. Accidental vagrant to Oregon, Texas, and Colorado. The first documented visitor to Texas was photographed mid-February, 2005 at Brazos Bend State Park.

Immature or female
Photo © by scottishdude
La Ensenada, Costa Rica, March, 2008



This is a polytypic species[1], consisting of eight subspecies[1] :


Tree canopy in open, wooded sites, forest edges and scrub or grassland areas with scattered trees.


Seen singly or in small groups, often with other orioles.


They mostly eat insects, fruit, and seeds.


The nest is a short hanging basket of plant fibers where it lays 3-4 white or pale bluish eggs, splotched brown.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Fagan and Komar, Peterson field guide to birds of northern Central America

Recommended Citation

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