Audubons Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)

Audubons Oriole

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Icteridae | [latin] Icterus graduacauda | [UK] Audubons Oriole | [FR] Oriole d’Audubon | [DE] Schwarzkopf-Trupial | [ES] Bolsero cabeza negra | [NL] Zwartkoptroepiaal


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Icterus graduacauda NA, MA s Texas, Mexico
Icterus graduacauda audubonii
Icterus graduacauda dickeyae
Icterus graduacauda graduacauda
Icterus graduacauda nayaritensis

Physical charateristics

A yellow oriole with black head, wings, and tail. The yellowish back is conclusive. All other male orioles have black backs. Sexes are similar.

Listen to the sound of Audubons Oriole

[audio: Oriole.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 30 cm wingspan max.: 34 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 24 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 12 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : South Texas, Mexico


Woodlands, thickets. In our area, found in southern Texas in native woods near the Rio Grande, also locally f
arther north in mesquite brushland and groves of live oak. In Mexico, often in foothills, in humid oak forest or in pine-oak woodland.


Nesting behavior 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 low tree, 5-
15′ above ground and firmly attached to upright twigs. Sometimes placed in clump of Spanish moss. Nest is hanging pouch or basket, not as deep as some oriole nests, with rim firmly woven to supporti
ng twigs and entrance somewhat constricted. Nest is made of long grass stems, woven while still green, lined with finer grass.
Eggs: 3-5. Pale grayish to bluish white, with markings of brown and purple usually concentrated at larger end. Details of incubation not well known.
Young: Probably both parents feed young, but little is known of the nestling stage or age at which young leave the nest.

Feeding habits

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.
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. Often
forages in pairs. Will visit flowers for nectar.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Habitat loss is the largest overriding threat to the species. Within the U.S. portion of its range, little native habitat was not destroyed or degraded over the last century for agriculture or development. The Bronzed Cowbird is a common brood parasite of this species in Mexico and it appears that Audubon’s is a good foster parent. Bronzed Cowbirds have been known to fledge from Audubon’s nests. Three nearly full-grown cowbirds have been observed being fed by a pair of Audubon’s. One of the reasons this species ranks high on the PIF priority WatchList is because of its extremely small range, especially in the U.S. Disease, extreme weather, and large losses of habitat could have disastrous results on the population. It also suffers from habitat loss due to agricultural practices.
Audubons Oriole status Least Concern


Southern Texas to northwestern Guatemala. A resident on lower Rio Grande River, Texas. Migration: Apparently a permanent resident throughout its range.

Distribution map

Audubons Oriole distribution range map

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