|by Marcia Malory|
Oriole is a name given to species that belong to two different families of passerines.
Old world orioles, which live in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, belong to the family Oriolidae.
New world orioles, which live in the Americas, belong to the family Icteridae, which also includes new world blackbirds and meadowlarks.
Species in both the families are called orioles because they look alike and share similar behaviors.
This is an example of folk taxonomy, in which people classify organisms based on their appearance and behavior, rather than on how they are related through evolution.
A male oriole is usually brightly colored, often black and bright orange or black and bright yellow.
A female will have duller coloring.
Orioles live in trees.
They are omnivorous, and eat insects, nectar, fruits and seeds.
Those that live in temperate climates are migratory.
The Icterids belong to a group of passerines known as nine-primaried oscines. (Oscines are songbirds.) They have nine visible primary feathers (long, narrow feathers that are used to provied thrust during flight) on each wing. Cardinals and finches are also nine-primaried oscines.