Orchard Oriole

Icterus spurius
Range Map

Orchard Orioles winter from southern Mexico, south to Columbia in South America, but breed from central Mexico north through eastern USA from North Dakota east to New England. Most orioles feature yellow and black in their plumage, but the males of this species have cinnamon coloration instead of the yellow of their cousins.

Where the habitat is rich in food supplies, these birds may nest with several pairs in the same tree.

Science recognises three subspecies of Orchard Oriole:

  • I. s. spurius breeds across most of eastern USA and south to the Mexican interior.
  • I. s. phillipsi breeds in the Mexican Plateau from central Durango, and south through northern Michoacán.
  • I. s. fuertesi breeds from southern Tamaulipas to Veracruz (Mexico). Some researchers believe that I. s. fuertesi is a separate species, the Fuertes’s Oriole.

I’d never met the Orchard Oriole until my expedition to Texas in 2020. Even then, my encounters were frustratingly brief. Fortunately, my return to Texas in 2021 rewarded me with more intimate meetings.

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