Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula

Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula

Baltimore orioles are found in the Nearctic in summer, primarily the eastern United States. They breed from Minnesota to Maine and south to central Mississippi and Alabama and northern Georgia. They migrate to winter in the Neotropics as far north as Mexico and sometimes the southern coast of the United States, but predominantly in Central America and northern South America.

The association involves several distinctive plant adaptations Baltimore orioles are often found high up in large, leafy deciduous trees, but do not generally reside in deep forests. The species has been found in summer and migration in open woodland, forest edge, and partially wooded wetlands or stands of trees along rivers.

Baltimore orioles are basically solitary outside their mating season. The species is generally considered monogamous. In the spring, males establish a territory then display to females by singing and chattering while hopping from perch to perch in front of them. The females may ignore these displays or sing and give calls or a wing-quiver display in response.


The song is a disjointed measured 2-note whitled melodic phrases, som ewith long pauses: hue-lee, hue-lee, hue-lee. Call is rich hue-lee. Also a series of ratttling chatter: caw-caw-caw-caw.


Solitary or in pairs in the breeding season. In family groups after nesting, although some males remain solitary. May join mixed foraging flocks in winther and migration. Forages in bushes and trees, often high in canopy. East insects, capterpillars, berries and fruits. Sips nectar.


Graphic of how to identify Baltimore Orioles Smaller and more slender than an American Robin, Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized, sturdy-bodied songbirds with thick necks and long legs. Look for their long, thick-based, pointed bills, a hallmark of the blackbird family they belong to.

  Length: 6.7-7.5 in (17-19 cm)
  Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz (30-40 g)
  Wingspan: 9.1-11.8 in (23-30 cm)

  Color Pattern

Adult males are flame-orange and black, with a solid-black head and one white bar on their black wings. Females and immature males are yellow-orange on the breast, grayish on the head and back, with two bold white wing bars.


Monogamous. Solitary. Displaying male spreads tail and wings, bows to female.


Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula, with nest The female chooses a nest site within the territory defended by her mate. She anchors the nest firmly to a fork in the slender upper branches of a tree. Baltimore Orioles often nest in American elms, but will build in other trees, especially maples and cottonwoods. The distinctive nest usually hangs below a branch, but is sometimes anchored along a vertical tree trunk

Baltimore Orioles build remarkable, sock-like hanging nests, woven together from slender fibers. The female weaves the nest, usually 3 to 4 inches deep, with a small opening, 2 to 3 inches wide, on top and a bulging bottom chamber, 3 to 4 inches across, where her eggs will rest. She anchors her nest high in a tree, first hanging long fibers over a small branch, then poking and darting her bill in and out to tangle the hank. While no knots are deliberately tied, soon the random poking has made knots and tangles, and the female brings more fibers to extend, close, and finally line the nest. Construction materials can include grass, strips of grapevine bark, wool, and horsehair, as well as artificial fibers such as cellophane, twine, or fishing line.

Incubation is 12-14 days by female. Altricial young brooded by female. Young stay in the nest 12-14 days and are fed by both sexes. There is one brood per year.

  Flight Pattern

Graphic of how to identify Baltimore Orioles

Swift, strong and direct flight on rapidly beating wings. Orange-yellow in dark tail flashes during flight.


Common in deciduous woodlots, riparian woodlands, wooland edges and clearings, and around human habitation.

  Bird Feeders

Oranges, peanut butter, suet or nectar.


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