Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius spurius) 4 January 2020, North Street, town of Pescadero, San Mateo County, California. Photos © 2020 Joseph Morlan
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius spurius)

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius spurius)
This is a rare migrant and winter visitor to California. This individual was found 30 December 2018 and has returned to the same Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp.) flowers this winter. The Orchard Oriole is the smallest oriole in North America. Breeding adult males have distinctive black and chestnut plumage. Non-breeding adult males such as this are similar to breeding males, but have olive or pale chestnut-tipped feathers obscuring the black coloration on the upperparts. The greenish "dust" on the bird's head is not pollen but fresh feather tips. Two subspecies are usually recognized. The Mexican race I. s. fuertesi has been recognized as a full species by HBW and IOC with the name Fuertes's Oriole or Ochre Oriole. However AOS and Clements/eBird continue to lump them. Canon PowerShot SX60 HS.


Fraga, R. (2020). Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/62266 on 5 January 2020).

Jaramillo, A., & Burke, P. (1999). New World Blackbirds: The Icterids. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Scharf, W. C. and J. Kren (2010). Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.255
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