Altamira Oriole

Icterus gularis

We once knew the Altamira Oriole as the Lichtenstein’s Oriole. Though widespread on the Mexican Gulf Coast and northern Central America, these large orioles have recently (since 1939) established territory in southern Texas. Today, south Texas is to only location north of the border with Mexico where we find them.

Though their appearance is similar to the smaller Hooded Oriole, DNA analysis has shown the two are not closely related. No other oriole is larger than this bird, and they do not migrate, so where we find them, they stay all year. Unlike most of their oriole relatives, male and female birds look the same.

We believe the female builds the nest. They are huge elongated woven affairs that are over two feet long. Sometimes they will build a nest, but not use it. Instead, they find another site and build again.

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