Icterus galbula, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Icterus galbula (Linnaeus, 1758)
* Syst. Nat. ed.10 p.108
The Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula, is a small icterid blackbird which is on average 18 cm long and weighs 34 g. This bird received its name from the fact that the male's colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. At one time, this species and the Bullock's Oriole, Icterus bullockii, were considered to be a single species, the Northern Oriole.
The Baltimore Orioles, a Major League Baseball team in Baltimore, Maryland, were named after this bird. It is also the state bird of Maryland.
The male sings a loud flutey whistle that often gives away the bird's location before any sighting can be made. Click here to listen to the whistle of a Baltimore Oriole.
Distribution and ecology
The breeding habitats of these birds are the edges of deciduous and mixed woods across eastern North America. The range of this bird overlaps with that of the similar Bullock's Oriole in the midwest, and the two species are sometimes considered to be conspecific under the name Northern Oriole because they form fertile hybrids.
These birds migrate in flocks to southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Some birds may remain near feeders in winter.
The Baltimore Oriole's nest is a tightly woven pouch located on the end of a branch, hanging down on the underside.
The Baltimore Oriole is a rare vagrant to western Europe, and there are a couple of British records of birds wintering near garden feeders, including one in Oxford in December 2003. Perhaps the most remarkable record was the incident occurring on 7th and 8 October 2001. On this date, in Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland, the first record of this species in Ireland was made.
1. ^ Foster (2007)
* BirdLife International (2004). Icterus galbula. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License