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Number of species: 72

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Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula

Both AHY/ASY males and SY males are readily recognizable through overall bold plumage and absence/presence of distinct molt limits; females can generally be aged reliably too, but may require closer examination, and awareness of more extensive variability among individuals (especially ASY females in spring).

 

Quick Tips:

  • In spring, look at the greater coverts - on SY birds there is generally a molt limit within the greater coverts, or less commonly between the greater coverts and primary coverts.  The primaries and secondaries of SY birds are also brown and often quite worn, with the inner secondaries contrasting with replaced greater coverts.
  • Examine the rectrices - on HY birds they are narrow and pointed, while on AHY/ASY birds they are broader and more rounded; this feature is particularly useful in fall when wing contrasts (for females) are less obvious, and in spring when some SY birds have a mix of juvenile rectrices (pointed, worn, and dull) and alternate rectrices (rounded, fresh, bright).
  • In fall, measure wing chord, which is usually the only way to distinguish sex among HY birds, but beware that while guidelines for male (>91 mm) and female (<91 mm) are well established, there can be many exceptions, and it is better to exercise caution and buffer by at least 2 mm (i.e., male >93 mm, unknown 89-93 mm, and female <89 mm)
  • Consider overall appearance - AHY/ASY males are black and orange, while SY males are similar but with extensive brown on the wings; AHY/ASY females are largely brown and orange, with the head variably orange to almost black; HY birds and SY females are generally grayish-brown and orange, with the head mostly orange.

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Male
Dark brown above and dull orange below, occasionally with some black or bolder orange feathers; wing chord > 93 mm; rectrices brownish, narrow, and pointed.
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Hatch year / Female
Dark brown above and dull orange below, lacking black; wing chord < 89 mm; rectrices brownish, narrow, and pointed.
Thumbnail - MH3-2231-66132-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3745.jpg
After hatch year / Male
Head black and underparts bold orange; wing black, without molt limits; rectrices relatively rounded, with bold black and orange pattern.
Thumbnail - MG2-2231-66281-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3751.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2231-66281-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3749.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2231-66281-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3750.jpg

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After hatch year / Female
Largely brownish above and dull orange below; wing blackish, without molt limits; rectrices dark brownish-orange and relatively rounded.
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Second year / Male
Head largely to entirely black and underparts bold orange; wing largely brown but with some sharply contrasting black greater coverts; rectrices either brownish and pointed, or black and orange and rounded, or mixed.
Thumbnail - MG2-1891-91351-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3765.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1891-91351-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3763.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1891-91351-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3764.jpg

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Second year / Female
Head largely orange with some brown; wing largely brown but with some contrasting dusky greater coverts; rectrices either brownish and pointed, or blackish with pale orange and rounded, or mixed.
Thumbnail - MG2-2231-72747-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3774.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2231-72747-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3772.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2231-72747-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3773.jpg
After second year / Male
Head and upperparts black and underparts bold orange; wing black, without molt limits; rectrices relatively rounded, with bold black and orange pattern.
Thumbnail - MG2-1951-51390-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3780.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1951-51390-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3778.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1951-51390-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3779.jpg
After second year / Female
Largely brownish above and dull orange below; head ranging from mostly orange to nearly black; wing blackish, without molt limits; rectrices dark brownish-orange and relatively rounded.
Thumbnail - MG2-1891-91374-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3786.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1891-91374-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3784.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1891-91374-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3785.jpg

Thumbnail - MG2-1951-51414-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3789.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1951-51414-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3787.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1951-51414-Icterus_galbula_AOU_7_52-3788.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Juvenile / Unknown Grayish-brown with buffy wing bars.
Number of species: 72

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