BALTIMORE ORIOLEBIRD LIBRARY »
Appearance of the Baltimore Oriole
The Baltimore Oriole is a small blackbird that used to share the name Northern Oriole with the Bullock’s Oriole (breeding season resident of the American Midwest), with which it is often confused.
Molecular research established that other than their appearance and similar behavioral traits, the two species are completely different. From time to time, the Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole meet and interbreed in areas where their ranges overlap.
The adult Baltimore Oriole has white bars on its wings and features a long, pointed bill and long tail. The adult Baltimore Oriole male sports orange on its underside and shoulder patch, and black everywhere else. The adult Baltimore Oriole female features yellowish-brown upper parts, dark wings, and an orange belly and breast.
The Baltimore Oriole earned its name by resembling the color scheme on the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore (a Baron from Ireland after which the Maryland city is named).
The major league baseball team the Baltimore Orioles was named after the Baltimore Oriole bird and sports the color scheme of the bird. The Baltimore Oriole is also the state bird of Maryland.
The male Baltimore Oriole sings loudly with a flute-like sound. One often hears the song before the bird is actually spotted, revealing its location. The call of the Baltimore Oriole is a chatter.
Geography of the Baltimore Oriole
The colorful Baltimore Oriole inhabits the eastern part of North America. The Baltimore Oriole winters in Florida and southward to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and northern South America, lingering east of the Rocky Mountains.
Although the Baltimore Oriole migrates in flocks southward to its wintering grounds, this bird has been spotted in western Europe, feasting during the winter at garden feeders. In an ironic twist, a Baltimore Oriole was spotted in Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland in 2001 — the first record of a Baltimore Oriole in that country.
Local Environments of the Baltimore Oriole
A common inhabitant of suburbs and parks, the Baltimore Oriole prefers to breed at forest edges and open areas with scattered deciduous trees.
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