This Bird's For You - The Baltimore Oriole:Icterus galbula Ornithology
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Baltimore Oriole: Icterus galbula

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Ornithology - This Bird's for You.

The Baltimore Oriole just may be the most familiar member of the "classification" of birds known as Blackbirds & Orioles, the Family: Icteridae. Well known, probably, because of the name association with the City of Baltimore and the Orioles baseball team. However, there are seven other species of orioles - as shown on the menu to the left of this page. (Information herein is condensed from: Gough, G.A., Sauer, J.R., Iliff, M. Patuxent Bird Identification Infocenter. 1998. Version 97.1. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/infocenter.html.)

Baltimore Oriole
Icterus galbula
Baltimore Oriole

The Baltimore Oriole was adopted as Maryland's state bird in 1947. The diet of an oriole consists of flower nectar, fruit and some insects. Baltimore Orioles lay 3 to 6 whitish-blue eggs with dark markings in a nest made of grasses and tree bark. The Baltimore Oriole breeds between mid-May and mid-June. They make a deep, woven bag for a nest. This nest will close when weighted, such as baby birds . It is usually in the canopy of a hardwood tree.

Baltimore Orioles Identification Tips:

  • Length: 6.5 inches
  • Sharply-pointed bill

Male Baltimore Oriole:Oriole on branch

  • Black head, back, wings and tail
  • Orange underparts, shoulder, and rump
  • Orange tips to outer tail feathers
  • White wing bar and edges
  • Immature male similar to female but brighter orange with variable amounts of black on head

Female Baltimore Oriole:

  • Brownish-gray upperparts
  • Dull yellowish-orange breast and undertail coverts
  • Gray belly
  • Two wing bars

Baltimore Oriole IllustrationSimilar species...there are several varieties of Orioles; here are some tips to tell them apart:

  • Male Baltimore Orioles can be told from other black and orange orioles by its completely black head. Female is similar to other female orioles but can be told from Bullock's by its more orange breast and less gray upperparts. Hooded and Orchard orioles have more extensively yellow underparts.
  • Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.

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