Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Orchard Oriole

Male Orchard Oriole
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Passeriformes
Family : Icteridae
Genus : Icterus
Species : spurius

Length : 7in (18cm)
Wingspan : 10in (25cm)

IUCN Status : Least Concern

Sometimes I randomly ask my acquaintances to "name an animal that isn't a mammal." I get some strange responses sometimes (Antlion for example), and usually I've already written about many of the suggestions. Yesterday though, response number one was "Oriole," a songbird that I haven't yet written about! Imagine my excitement!

...But I had no idea that there were around 30 species of Oriole, so I just had to pick one. When faced with such a decision I tend to go toward extremes, so today we have the smallest Oriole species in North America; the Orchard Oriole.

Female Orchard Oriole
The Orchard Oriole can be found throughout Eastern North America and Central America, depending on the time of year. One interesting tidbit about them is that they migrate to their summer grounds in late spring, but some birds return to their winter homes very quickly, as early as mid-July! In their winter grounds they are important pollinators for many tropical trees, as they feed off of nectar and pollen and move it from plant to plant.

Orchard Orioles vary in color depending on sex. Males are the characteristic orange and black, with the orange sometimes being very dark. Females and young males are a bright yellowish green.

1 comment:

  1. We have these in our back yard this year in Augusta, KS. Although they aren't normally here. It is believed that they showed up as a result of all of the flooding to the north of us. I got a few pics of the male near the trumpet vine in our back yard...beautiful birds!

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