old world oriole

New World oriole

The genus Icterus is a group of birds in the Icteridae family. They are not related to the Old World orioles which are in the family Oriolidae, but are strikingly similar in size, diet, behaviour and their yellow-and-black plumage, a good example of convergent evolution, and almost inevitably took the same vernacular name.

The males are typically black and yellow or orange, with white markings; the plumage of females and immature birds is duller. These birds go through one moult in a year. They are generally slender with long tails and a pointed bill. They mainly eat insects, often also nectar and fruit. The nest is a woven pouch. Several species are easy to attract to birdtables by the provision of cut oranges and grape jelly, both are favored by orioles. The species nesting in areas with cold winters (including most of the United States) are strongly migratory, while subtropical and tropical species are more sedentary.

The name "oriole" was first recorded (in the Latin form oriolus) by Albertus Magnus in about 1250, and was stated by him to be onomatopoeic, from the song of the European Golden Oriole.

The genus name Icterus is from the Greek word for yellow and is also associated with jaundice.

Provisional species list

This species list is provisional. The exact delimitation of several taxa is unclear, and hybridization seems to be a significant confounding factor, for example in the Baltimore and Bullock's Oriole:

External links

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