Orchard Oriole

Icterus spurius
Orchard Oriole specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

Smaller (6-7 inches) and darker than the Northern Oriole (Icterus galbula), the male Orchard Oriole is most easily identified by its black upper body, dark orange-brown underparts, and thin white wing bars. The female Orchard Oriole is mostly yellow-green overall with grayish wings with white wing bars. Immature Orchard Orioles resemble females, but young male birds have a solid black throat. The Orchard Oriole breeds widely across the eastern United States and southern Canada from Manitoba and New York south to central Florida and Texas. Smaller numbers breed in central Mexico and along the Mexican Gulf coast. In winter, Orchard Orioles migrate south to southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Orchard Orioles breed in open deciduous forest, usually near water. During the winter, this species inhabits similar kinds of habitat around humid tropical forests. Orchard Orioles primarily eat insects and other invertebrates, adding fruit to their diets when available, particularly in winter. In appropriate habitat, Orchard Orioles may be observed foraging for insects in the branches of trees, often in the tree canopy but sometimes quite close to the ground. This species occasionally visits oriole nectar feeders or hummingbird feeders. Orchard Orioles are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

DC Information

Fairly common summer resident arriving in early May and leaving in late August. Breeds from early May to late June. Inhabits orchards and residential areas. The adult male has the head, neck, throat, and upper back black, the breast and abdomen chestnut; the adult female is grayish olive-green above and dull yellow below.

Specimen Information

The bird on the upper left is a female and the bird on the lower right is a male.
Date:  5/19/1889
Collected By:  CW Richmond
Locality:  Washington, DC
Sex:  Female
Catalog ID:  122077
Date:  5/21/1893
Collected By:  Edward J Brown
Locality:  Eastern Branch, DC
Sex:  Male
Catalog ID:  220774

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54121 Icterus spurius (Orchard Oriole)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54122 Icterus spurius (Orchard Oriole)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54124 Icterus spurius (Orchard Oriole)