At a Glance

One of the most brilliantly colored songbirds in the east, flaming orange and black, sharing the heraldic colors of the coat of arms of 17th-century Lord Baltimore. Widespread east of the Great Plains, Baltimore Orioles are often very common in open woods and groves in summer. Their bag-shaped hanging nests, artfully woven of plant fibers, are familiar sights in the shade trees in towns. This bird was formerly considered to belong to the same species as the western Bullock's Oriole, under the combined name of Northern Oriole.
Blackbirds and Orioles, Perching Birds
Low Concern
Fields, Meadows, and Grasslands, Forests and Woodlands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Urban and Suburban Habitats
Eastern Canada, Florida, Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, New England, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Texas, Western Canada
Direct Flight

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

Migrates in flocks. Fall migration begins early, with many birds departing in July and August.


7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm). Boldly marked black and orange adult male is unlike any other eastern bird. Female brown above, tinged orange below, with white wing-bars, variable black on head. On Great Plains, often interbreeds with Bullock's Oriole, producing hybrids with intermediate pattern.
About the size of a Robin
Black, Green, Orange, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Rounded, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

Clear and flute-like whistled single or double notes in short, distinct phrases with much individual variation.
Call Pattern
Falling, Undulating
Call Type
Buzz, Chatter, Flute, Whistle


Open woods, riverside groves, elms, shade trees. Breeds in deciduous or mixed woodland, generally in open woods or edges rather than interior of dense forest. May be common in trees in towns. Often favors elms. Winters mostly in the tropics around forest edge and semi-open country.



4-5, sometimes 3-6. Bluish white to pale gray, with brown and black markings concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, about 12-14 days.


Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-14 days after hatching.

Feeding Behavior

Forages by searching for insects among foliage of trees and shrubs. Sometimes flies out to catch insects in midair. Visits flowers for nectar, and will come to sugar-water feeders; also will come to pieces of fruit put out at feeders.


Insects, berries, nectar. In summer feeds mostly on insects, especially caterpillars, including hairy types avoided by many birds; also eats beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, bugs, and others, plus spiders and snails. Eats many berries and sometimes cultivated fruit. Feeds on nectar and will take sugar-water.


Male sings to defend nesting territory. In courtship, male faces female and stretches upright, then bows deeply with tail spread and wings partly open. Nest site is in tall deciduous tree, placed near end of slender drooping branch, usually 20-30' above the ground but can be 6-60' up or higher. Nest (built by female, sometimes with help from male) is a hanging pouch, with its rim firmly attached to a branch. Nest is tightly woven of plant fibers, strips of bark, grapevines, grass, yarn, string, Spanish moss, lined with fine grass, plant down, hair.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Still widespread and common, but surveys show declines in recent decades. In the mid 20th century, Dutch elm disease killed many of the American elms that had been favorite nesting trees for this species in the past.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Baltimore Oriole. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Baltimore Oriole

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.

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