Animals

Baltimore Oriole

by Marcia Malory

The Baltimore oriole is a small passerine.

Baltimore orioles are known for building their nests with any stringy material that they can find.

Male and female, working together, may use grass or moss to construct a nest. However, they will also use items discarded by human beings, such as ribbons, rubber bands, and threads from old pieces of clothing.

The male Baltimore oriole has a black head and back. His chest, belly and rump are bright orange. His wings are orange with white bars. He has an orange tail with black streaks.

Male Baltimore oriole, photo by Joby Joseph

The female is a paler orange than the male. Her head and tail are a brownish olive.

The Baltimore oriole gets its name from the fact that its orange and black colors were the family colors of the Baltimore family that ruled Maryland when it was an English colony.

It is the state bird of Maryland.

The Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball team gets its name from the bird.

The Baltimore oriole is a migratory bird. It summers in forests in eastern North America and winters in the southern United States, Mexico and southward to northern South America.

Female Baltimore oriole

Courtship displays take place in the spring.

The male hops from perch to perch in front of the female and bows to her. He also sings to her.

The female usually lays four to six eggs and incubates them for about two weeks. The nestlings are fed by both the mother and the father.

The Baltimore oriole eats small fruits and insects, particularly caterpillars.