Oriole Bird Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula) is a small North American bird and it earns its name because of its coat that reminds us of the Lord of Baltimore. It is a migratory species. The bird is primarily known for its sweet song. The Baltimore oriole has got brilliant bright-colored plumage. They are often heard than seen.

Oriole Bird Facts


  • The adult oriole averages 17–22 cm (6.7–8.7 in) in body length with the wingspan measuring up to 23–32 cm (9.1–12.6 in).
  • It has a slender body and pointed tail. The shoulders are orange while the wings are black and white. Adult males are mainly recognized by their jet black head and tail.
  • The male bird has got some white markings on its body. Baltimore oriole has sharp black bill.
  • Baltimore oriole weighs up to 22.3 to 42 g (0.79 to 1.48 oz).
  • It is the official state bird of Maryland.
oriole bird facts
Baltimore Oriole ©animals.nationalgeographic.com

Geographic Range

  • During spring or summer they are the common residents of the eastern and central United States.
  • They occur in the central Mississippi, northern Georgia, Minnesota, and Alabama. Orioles are also found as far south as Mexico and northern South America.


  • Baltimore orioles are likely to breed in the leafy deciduous trees including forest edge, tree stands along rivers, open woodland, and orchards. They also make habitats in backyards or parks.
  • They will never make homes in deep forests. Orioles are typically found singing in the tree-tops.
  • In time orioles have adapted to living in secondary habitats.


  • The male orioles are thought to utter loud singing sounds and it echoes in many parts of the eastern United States. Adult males will perch on a tree canopy to sing.
  • In the wild, the maximum lifespan of Baltimore oriole is 11 years and 7 months whereas the captive orioles live up to 14 years.

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • The Baltimore oriole typically forages in trees and shrubs. They are thought to catch flying insects even during flight.
  • Baltimore oriole’s diet consists of insects, nectar, and berries. Prominent among the prey is forest tent caterpillar moth. The caterpillar is mostly consumed in the larva stage.
  • In fruits, they seem to rely on dark colored ripe fruit.
  • They are often found in high trees looking for insects and flowers.
oriole bird facts
Baltimore Oriole ©www.surfbirds.com

Reproductive Biology

  • Baltimore orioles are likely to live a solitary life except during the breeding season when the mother is with her chicks.
  • It pairs for life. The female alone builds a nest. The oriole’s nest is mainly built with materials such as maples, elms, willows, and cottonwood.
  • They build nest at a height of about 7 to 9 m (23 to 30 ft) above the ground.
  • The clutch consists of 3 – 7 bluish white eggs. Each of the eggs measure 2.3 cm × 1.6 cm (0.91 in × 0.63 in).
  • The incubation lasts about 12 – 14 days. Both parents regurgitate the food to their nestlings but the female wills stop feeding them after 14 days.
  • Predators of Baltimore oriole include black-billed magpies, common grackles, blue jays, tree squirrels, American crows, great horned owls, peregrine falcons, barn owls, and domestic cats.

Conservation Status

  • Least Concern

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