Altamira oriole

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Altamira oriole
Altamira oriole.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Icteridae
Genus: Icterus
Species: I. gularis
Binomial name
Icterus gularis
(Wagler, 1829)
Icterus gularis map.svg
Range of I. gularis      Year-round range

The Altamira oriole (Icterus gularis) is a New World oriole. The bird is widespread in subtropical lowlands of the Mexican Gulf Coast and northern Central America, the Pacific coast and inland. It also can be found in the extreme south of Texas (locally called the Rio Grande Valley).

At 25 cm (9.8 in) and 56 g (2.0 oz), this is the largest oriole of the Icterus genus. This bird nests in open woodlands. The nest is a very long woven pouch, attached to the end of a horizontal tree branch, sometimes to telephone wires.

This bird forages high in trees, sometimes in the undergrowth. They mainly eat insects and berries.

These birds are permanent residents, and unlike the migratory orioles that breed in the US, the species is sexually monomorphic—both the males and the females have elaborate coloration and patterning.

In Bentsen State Park, Texas, US


Both males and females have a black mandible and throat, as well as a black back and long black tail. Wings are black, but the remiges and rectrices (flight feathers) are fringed with white. These form a single white wing bar and white wing spots when folded. The secondary coverts form orange epaulets. The underside is almost uniformly orange or yellowish-orange. In general, immature specimens have an olive back, and a dull yellow on its head and its body. The first-year bird is similar to the adult, but it has an olive, not black, back, and yellow-olive tail.[2][3]


The Altimira oriole forages through the tree-tops. Its diet includes fruit and insects. It lives in semi-arid areas with scattered trees, and open riparian woodland.


The song of the Altamira oriole is a series of clear, slow musical whistles. In contrast, the Altamira's calls are harsh whistles, rasping chatter, and nasal "ike"s.[4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Icterus gularis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Altamira Oriole, Identification". The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Scott, Shirley L., ed. (1994). Field Guide to the Birds of North America (2nd ed.). The National Geographic Society. pp. 428–429. ISBN 0-87044-692-4. 
  4. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Brush, T. and Barbara Y. Pleasants (2005). Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis). The Birds of North America Online. (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North American Online database.
  • Flood NJ. (1989). Coloration in New World Orioles 1. Tests of Predation-Related Hypotheses. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. vol 25, no 1. pp. 49–56.
  • Gorena RL. M.S. (1995). Feeding and nesting ecology of the great kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus texanus (Passeriformes: Tyrannidae) in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. The University of Texas - Pan American, United States—Texas.
  • Hathcock CR. M.S. (2000). Factors affecting reproductive success in hosts of the bronzed cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. The University of Texas - Pan American, United States—Texas.
  • Hathcock CR & Brush T. (2004). Breeding abundance and nest-site distribution of the Altamira oriole at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Southwestern Naturalist. vol 49, no 1. pp. 33–38.
  • Ortiz-Pulido R. (2000). Abundance of frugivorous birds and richness of fruit resource: Is there a temporal relationship?. Caldasia. vol 22, no 1. pp. 93–107.
  • Pleasants BY. (1981). Aspects of the Breeding Biology of a Subtropical Oriole Icterus-Gularis. Wilson Bulletin. vol 93, no 4. pp. 531–537.
  • Thurber WA & Villeda A. (1980). Notes on Parasitism by Bronzed Cowbirds Molothrus-Aeneus in El-Salvador. Wilson Bulletin. vol 92, no 1. pp. 112–113.


  • Patrikeev, Michael, Jack C. Eitniear, Scott M. Werner, Paul C. Palmer (2008) Interactions and Hybridization between Altamira and Audubon's Orioles in the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding 40(2):42-6

External links[edit]