Photo: Glenn Bartley/Vireo

Audubon's Oriole

Icterus graduacauda

In native woodlands and brushy country of far southern Texas, this large oriole is an uncommon resident. Members of a pair may stay together all year, and often forage together in the woods, but they can be hard to see; slow-moving, quiet, and rather secretive, they often stay low in dense cover. Audubon's Orioles may be noticed first by their hesitant slow whistles from deep in the thickets.
Conservation status Numbers in southern Texas apparently have declined during recent decades. Parasitism of nests by cowbirds may have played a part in this decrease.
Family Blackbirds and Orioles
Habitat Woodlands, thickets. In our area, found in southern Texas in native woods near Rio Grande, also locally farther north in mesquite brushland and groves of live oak. In Mexico, often in foothills, in humid oak forest or in pine-oak woodland.
In native woodlands and brushy country of far southern Texas, this large oriole is an uncommon resident. Members of a pair may stay together all year, and often forage together in the woods, but they can be hard to see; slow-moving, quiet, and rather secretive, they often stay low in dense cover. Audubon's Orioles may be noticed first by their hesitant slow whistles from deep in the thickets.
Photo Gallery
Feeding Behavior

Forages rather quietly and deliberately in trees and shrubs, often staying within dense cover as it searches among the foliage for insects. Sometimes forages on the ground. Will visit flowers for nectar.


Eggs

3-5. Pale grayish to bluish white, with brown and purple markings usually concentrated at larger end. Details of incubation are not well known. Young: Probably both parents feed the young, but details are poorly known.


Young

Probably both parents feed the young, but details are poorly known.

Diet

Mostly insects and berries. Diet is not known in detail, but includes a variety of insects; also eats various berries, including those of hackberry. Sometimes takes nectar.


Nesting

Nesting behavior is not well known. Pairs may remain together on territory throughout the year. In Texas, most nesting activity is from late April through June. Nests are often parasitized by Bronzed Cowbirds. Nest site is in outer branches of a low tree, often a mesquite, 5-15' above the ground and firmly attached to upright twigs. Sometimes placed in a clump of Spanish moss. Nest is a hanging pouch or basket, not as deep as some oriole nests, with the rim firmly woven to the supporting twigs and the entrance somewhat constricted. Nest is made of long grass stems, woven while they are still green, lined with finer grass.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Apparently a permanent resident throughout its range.

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Migration

Apparently a permanent resident throughout its range.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
3-syllable warble, one of the sweetest, most melodious songs of any oriole.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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