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Altamira Oriole

Icterus gularis ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: ICTERIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Altamira Oriole is a bird of Mexico and Central America whose range just reaches into southern Texas. The largest oriole occurring in the United States, it makes the longest nest of any North American bird: its woven basket-like nest can reach 65 cm (25.5 in) in length.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
8.3–9.8 in
21–25 cm
Wingspan
14.2 in
36 cm
Weight
1.7–2.3 oz
47–64 g
Other Names
  • Lichtenstein's Oriole, Black-throated Oriole
  • Oriole a gros bec (French)
  • Bolsero campero, Chiltote de gargantinegra (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Altamira Oriole has been observed foraging for dead grasshoppers on the fronts of cars.
  • The Altamira Oriole is a solitary nester, with an average of a quarter kilometer (800 ft) between nests. Despite this wide spacing, it is not known to be territorial, and almost no aggression has been observed during the breeding season.

Habitat


Open Woodland

Semi-arid areas with scattered trees, open riparian woodland, open areas within more humid environments.

Food


Insects

Insects, fruit.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–6 eggs
Egg Description
Pale bluish white with irregular black and purple spots and splotches.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless.
Nest Description

A long (30-65 cm; 12-25.5 in), hanging pouch woven of fibers and thin roots of epiphytes, suspended in the fork of a branch in a tall tree or hung from telephone wires.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Forages through foliage from top of tree to near ground.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Altamira Orioles are common in the southern part of their range, but in the U.S. are only found in the extreme south of Texas, where they have been listed as threatened by the Texas Organization for Endangered Species. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 2 million birds, with 3% living in the U.S., and 73% living in Mexico. They score a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.

Credits

  • Pleasants, B. Y. 1993. Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis). In The Birds of North America, No. 56 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
  • Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database.

Range Map Help

Altamira Oriole Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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