Altamira Oriole

Icterus gularis

  • Version: 2.0 — Published March 1, 2005
  • Timothy Brush and Barbara Y. Pleasants

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Altamira Oriole
Adult Altamira Oriole, Texas, March

Bentsen State Park, TX; March; photographer Kevin T. Karlson

The Altamira Oriole, formerly known as Lichtenstein's Oriole and as the Black-throated Oriole, is a large, brightly colored songbird resident from the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Nicaragua. As in many other tropical orioles, but unlike temperate species, the sexes are similar in plumage. The sex of individual members of breeding pairs can be determined only after careful study of relative plumage brightness and behavior.

There is little life history information available for this species, although it is common in much of its range. Information on its eggs and nestlings is particularly difficult to obtain owing to the inaccessibility of its nest—a large, pendulous structure suspended from the tips of high branches or from telephone wires. The role of predation or brood parasitism in the evolution of this nest can only be a matter of speculation. Interactions between this species and potential brood parasites need further study.

A habitat generalist, the Altamira Oriole inhabits dry woodlands, scattered groves of trees in open areas, openings within forests, arid scrub, and trees bordering bodies of water. It is monogamous and a solitary nester.

Recommended Citation

Brush, T. and B. Y. Pleasants (2005). Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.