Fun Baltimore Oriole Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Nov 07, 2022 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 12, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Baltimore oriole facts such as its nest is an engineering marvel are interesting.

The Baltimore oriole, or Icterus galbula, a small icterid blackbird or a migratory breeding bird, is commonly found in eastern North America. The colors of the male resemble those on Lord Baltimore coat-of-arms, thus the name.

There have been a few observations of interbreeding between the species and western Bullock’s oriole.

During the winter season, they migrate to Neotropics that can be as far as the southern coast of the United States or Mexico, but predominantly in northern South American and Central America. All winter, some parts of the southern United States might retain orioles if they have appealing feeders.

This species from the Icteridae family is the state bird of Maryland. Also, it's the mascot and namesake for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

Also, if you want to know more such facts about birds, then check out gray catbird facts and great frigatebird facts for kids.

Baltimore Oriole Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Baltimore oriole?

The Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula, is a type of bird.

What class of animal does a Baltimore oriole belong to?

The Baltimore oriole, from the Icteridae family, belongs to the class Aves.

How many Baltimore orioles are there in the world?

Between 1966 and 2015, the population of Baltimore oriole decreased by over 1.5% throughout the eastern and northern parts of the breeding range.

Where does a Baltimore oriole live?

In summer, these North American birds are commonly found in the Nearctic, including eastern Montana and the Canadian Prairies in the northwest eastward through New Brunswick, southern Quebec, and southern Ontario and south through the central Mississippi to Alabama, northern Georgia, and the eastern United States.

What is a Baltimore oriole's habitat?

The Baltimore oriole’s habitat is open deciduous woodlands. However, these North American birds do well in suburban backyards and community parks as well. They forage in commonly built nests and trees tops in American elms, maples, and cottonwoods.

Who do Baltimore orioles live with?

Baltimore orioles live in social flocks.

How long does a Baltimore oriole live?

The lifespan of a Baltimore oriole is up to 14 years in captivity and 11.5 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Outside the mating season, the Baltimore oriole birds are basically solitary. In most cases, the species remains monogamous.

However, evidence suggests that extra-pair copulation is quite common as well. During the spring season, the males establish their territory and display it to female Baltimore oriole species by chattering and singing while hopping from one perch to another. Then, they give a bow display, bowing with tail fanned and wings lowered.

Depending on the receptiveness, the females might choose to ignore the displays or give wing-quiver displays or calls in response. This wing-quiver display is the female leaning forward, with her tail partly fanned, and quivering or fluttering slightly lowered wings.

The females build the hanging nest, a tightly woven pouch that is at the end of a branch, hangs down on the underside, and consists of any animal or plant materials that are available. They regularly select trees like cottonwoods, elms, willows, apples, or maples trees.

Then, the female lays about three to seven eggs in the hanging nest, with the average being around four. These eggs are bluish-white or pale gray in color.

The incubation period is somewhere between 12-14 days. After the nestlings have hatched, both adult female and adult male Baltimore orioles feed them by regurgitation and brooded for two weeks by the female.

After this, the young birds start fledgling and becoming independent. In case the nest, eggs, or young are destroyed, the Baltimore oriole is not able to lay a replacement clutch.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of a Baltimore oriole is of Least Concern according to the IUCN.

Baltimore Oriole Fun Facts

What do Baltimore orioles look like?

The Baltimore oriole is a medium-sized passerine that is about 4.7-12.6 in (12-32 cm) across the wings. They have a body typical of icterids - sturdy with long legs, a thick, pointed bill, and a longish tail. The males of the species are slightly bigger than the females.

However, they have minimal size dimorphism by icterid standards. Adult Baltimore orioles have white bars on their wings. The adult male comes with brilliant orange underparts, shoulder patches, and rumps.

Some of the birds appear deep flaming orange while others appear yellowish-orange. The rest of the adult plumage of a male Baltimore oriole is black.

In the case of the adult female, the upper parts are yellow-brown in color with darker wings. They have a dull orange-yellow color on the belly and breast. The juvenile birds look similar to the females.

Baltimore orioles love the woodlands.

How cute are they?

Baltimore oriole is a beautiful bird that is bright brilliant orange and black in color which gives them an adorable appearance.

How do they communicate?

The male Baltimore oriole sings a rich and flute-like song all summer, with each bird having a distinct song. The female Baltimore oriole song is shorter and simpler. For both sexes, the call is a whistled ‘hew-li’. They also use movements and postures for communication like female wing-flutter displays, male courtship displays, and nestling wing-flutters while begging for food.

How big is a Baltimore oriole?

The average length of a Baltimore oriole is 6-8 in (15.2-20.3 cm), which is roughly the same size as a budgerigar.

How fast can a Baltimore oriole fly?

Baltimore oriole's flight record speed is not recorded.

How much does a Baltimore oriole weigh?

The average weight of a Baltimore oriole is 0.79-1.48 oz  (22.3-42 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of the species.

What would you call a baby Baltimore oriole?

No specific name for a baby Baltimore.

What do they eat?

Baltimore orioles forage in shrubs and trees and even make short flights for catching insects. They are known to acrobatically clamber, hang, and hover among foliage while combing high branches. The Baltimore oriole's diet mainly includes insects, nectar, and berries.

In fact, they are often at hummingbird feeders sipping. Their favorite prey has to be the first tent caterpillar that they eat during their larval stage. If not regulated naturally by predation, this can be a nuisance species.

Unlike other fruit-eating birds, like American robins, Baltimore orioles prefer only dark-colored, ripe fruits. They seek out the reddest cherries, the deepest-purple grapes, and the darkest mulberries. They often ignore yellow cherries and green grapes, even when they are ripe.

These birds sometimes use their bills for gaping where they stab it into soft fruits and open their mouths for cutting a juicy swath and drink with their tongues. During fall and spring, sugary foods like fruit and nectar are converted into fat that supplies energy for migration.

Some people are now attracting the bird to their backyards using Baltimore oriole feeders, which contain the same food as hummingbird feeders, have larger perches, and are orange instead of red. These birds also love getting grape jelly and halved orange and the red arils of gumbo-limbo during the winter quarters.

When orioles find a well-kept feeder, they lead their young there.

Are they dangerous?

Baltimore orioles have a staccato chatter that they use for aggressive encounters like when they have to get an intruder out of their nest. Also, they have a repetitive, sharp chuck they use as an alarm call.

Would they make a good pet?

No, Baltimore orioles don’t make a good pet. These are wild animals who have special care requirements. Unlike birds like the cockatiel, dove, or peach-faced lovebird, taking care of Baltimore oriole is difficult for someone with no experience. In fact, in several places, owning a Baltimore oriole as a pet is illegal.

Did you know...

Between the years of 1973 and 1995, the Baltimore oriole bird didn’t exist on paper. In 1973, the American Ornithologists’ Union committee noted that Baltimore and Bullock’s orioles, their western counterparts interbred frequently.

So, they combined both species into one and called them Northern oriole. However, studies revealed that both these birds are not very similar. Baltimore orioles have their own song and prefer wetter habitats.

Later research revealed that both birds didn’t interbreed as much as the scientists believed. Then, after 22 years, the northern oriole designation was canned by the Union and Baltimore and Bullock’s were brought back.

What do Baltimore orioles sound like?

The males of Baltimore orioles species sound like a loud, flutey whistle that has a bold and buzzy quality. This is a familiar sound in the United States where the males sing from a tree's canopy, giving its location even before its being sighted.

The Baltimore oriole's season

Baltimore oriole is a medium to long-distance migrant that spends summer and winter in different ranges. Between early April to late May, the flocks arrive in central and eastern North America to breed. They leave in early July for Florida’s wintering grounds, Central America, the northern tip of South America, and the Caribbean.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these belted kingfisher facts and mountain bluebird facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Baltimore oriole coloring pages.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

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Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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