Types Of Orioles

If you’re a fan of bird watching and you want to look out for some bright and colorful birds, then you should definitely know a bit more about orioles! These birds are some of the most beautiful common birds in the world, known for their stunning orange and black plumage. 

rioles tend to spend a lot of time in human environments as well, so if you’ve got a sharp eye, you’ll be able to spot some in your yard! There are 9 New World Orioles, so it doesn’t hurt to have a bit more information about them up your sleeve. 

We’re going to be taking a look at all the oriole that are native to the U.S., so the next time you see one of these stunning birds, you will know exactly which one it is! 

U.S. species of Orioles

In North America alone, there are lots of different types of orioles. Some of these include the Bullock’s Oriole and the Altamira Oriole. Because all of these birds belong to the same family, the differences can seem quite subtle at a distance. Take a look at some of the different types of orioles below and see if you have spotted any before! 

Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)

Photo by Kati Fleming

The Altamira Oriole is actually one of the larger types of orioles that you will come across. Like most other orioles, the Altamira oriole is known for its stunning orange and black plumage. The males are a lot more vibrant in color than the females, and juveniles have no black or white markings. The juveniles are also a lot less orange and have an olive-brown back. 

This type of oriole is usually found in open woodlands, but they also fly to backyards that have bird feeders. They are actually quite rare in the US, but they can be spotted in both Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. 


Audio by Aidan Place

Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)

Photo by Kevin Cole

The Bullock’s oriole is a medium, slim-sized bird. They have pointed bills, and small heads. The males have very bright orange and black plumage with a black line located in their eye area.

The females in contrast are a lot lighter than the males, with yellow-orangish heads and their backs are a grayish color. 

They are medium-distance migratory birds that breed in the US but go to Mexico for the winter. This is another type of oriole that is likely to visit backyards that house bird feeders, so if you want to see them for yourself, install a bird feeder as soon as you can! 


Audio by Kathryn Milligan

Audubon’s Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)

Photo by Andy Morffew

Another larger type of oriole, the Audubon’s oriole is non-migratory and can only be found in Mexico and southern Texas. They tend to be found in wooded habitats, as well as bushy areas. Other areas they tend to populate include bodies of water and deciduous forests, and they are also sometimes found in and around coffee plantations. 

The Audubon’s oriole is actually one of the more shy birds in this family, so even if you do live in Mexico or southern Texas, your chances of actually seeing one are a lot lower than some of the other types on this list. They are occasionally seen by humans though, so it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility. 


Audio by Manuel Grosselet

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)

Photo by Dan Pancamo

The Orchard Oriole is a songbird that is black and chestnut red. They are slim with round heads and their tails are of a medium length. Found breeding in the eastern parts of the U.S., Orchard Orioles are long-distance migratory birds.

Once they have finished breeding, they tend to fly to Mexico and parts of South America for the winter. 

They tend to live in areas near bodies of water, scattered trees, and open woodlands. They mainly eat insects, but they also enjoy nectar and fruits when they cannot find their main source of food. 


Audio by Scott Olmstead

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Photo by Mdf

Known for their sturdy bodies, long necks, and pointed bills, the Baltimore Oriole is a beautiful bird known for its vibrant orange and black plumage. The orange color on their bodies is described as being flame-orange and it’s hard to miss these birds when you do see them.

They are medium to long-distance migratory birds. Similar to the Orchard Oriole, they tend to breed in eastern parts of the US and then migrate to Mexico for the winter.

The males, of course, are more vibrant than the females, and the females have lighter plumage. They do feature some orange plumage on their breast, but their heads are gray and they have two white bars on their wings. 


Audio by Sue Riffe

Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus)

Photo by Tony Castro

Hooded Oriole is another large type of oriole. Their bodies are long and delicate and their bills are pointed with a slight curve that goes downwards. The males have a very vibrant yellow and black plumage which can sometimes be more orange than yellow. The females are much lighter in color, with olive-yellow bodies and grayish backs and wings. 

They tend to stick to dry, open areas that house scattered trees such as sycamores, palm trees, and cottonwoods. Like most of the other types of orioles, this type lives on a diet of insects, fruit, and nectars.

They are not shy about appearing in your backyard either, so if you are looking for a Hooded oriole, you’re quite likely to find one! Hooded Orioles are a type of short-distance migratory bird. You won’t really find them anywhere besides the southern US and Mexico. 


Audio by Richard E. Webster

Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum)

Photo by Andy Reago

The male Scott’s Oriole has all the black and bright yellow plumage you expect from an oriole but look out for the white wing bar as well. The continuous stripe might help when identifying this species. It is also yellower than other oriole species.

This oriole breeds from Central Mexico through to the south and south western parts of the United States. Its migration patterns are not fully understood and breeding grounds in Mexico may overlap with non-breeding areas.


Audio by Lance A. M. Benner

Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis)

Photo by Len Blumin

Another distinctive oriole with brilliant orange and black plumage. The black streaks and spots on the breast make is easy to identify. The main population of the Spot-breasted Oriole is in Central America.

This oriole can only be seen in central Florida. The small population may well be seen with other species of oriole.


Audio by Richard E. Webster

Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus)

Photo by Emmanuel Miranda

A rare visitor to the south west of continental U.S., this is actually a common oriole of Mexico and Central America. It has thick white bars on the back of the wings, giving it s streaked appearance.

This oriole habits a range of environments from forests to swamps and scrublands. Not surprisingly, it also feeds on different foods like arthropods, larvae, fruits and nectar.


Audio by Alán Palacios

Final Thoughts

Orioles are some of the most beautiful types of birds out there. They are incredibly vibrant and colorful, and lots of the subspecies are songbirds, so you’re sure to hear them singing if you find yourself close by! 

These are just a few types of orioles that you can come across, but there are much more dotted around the U.S. Have a look into the types we have discussed and see if you can spot them for yourself! 


Where are orioles found in the US?

Orioles can be found all across the U.S. While some are resident in the west, others can be found in the east and some migrate. The real trick is not seeing them, it is telling them apart!

What is so special about the Baltimore Oriole?

The Baltimore Oriole is one of the most common and widespread oriole in continental America. So, it is probably most often seen. It has stunning orange and black plumage and an attractive whistling song. Also, it is seen as the bringer of spring and all these reasons make it a special bird.

How many Oriole species are there in the world?

There are relatively few species of oriole, around 30 in the world and they are widespread. With at least 9 orioles seen in the U.S., we can boast the most!

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