Baltimore Oriole – Maryland State bird

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Description: A small and slender member of the blackbird family, the Baltimore Oriole is distinct for its bold orange-and-black plumage. The Baltimore Oriole was named for the English Baltimore family, whose heraldic crest sports the same bright colors.

State(s): Maryland

Year Designated: 1947


Key Facts

Life Span6 to 10 Years
FlightFlying Bird

Conservation Status




Weight30-40 g
Wing Span23-30 cm
Length17-19 cm

Taxonomic Serial Number 179083

Compared to the Average State Bird

How the Baltimore Oriole measures up:

  • Wing span6 cm and 17% smaller than the average state bird’s wingspan (36 cm).
  • Weight45 g and 53% lighter than the average state bird’s weight (85 g)
  • Length8 cm and 30% shorter than the average state bird’s length (27 cm)

Scientific Classification

AnimaliaChordataAvesPasseriformesIcteridaeIcterus galbula


Appearance Description

Male AppearanceSturdy body, longish tail, fairly long legs, and a thick, pointed bill. Orange plumage on the chest and underbelly, black plumage on the neck, face, and back, and white bars on the wings.
Female AppearanceSturdy body, longish tail, fairly long legs, and a thick, pointed bill. Dull orange-yellow plumage on the chest and underbelly, yellow-brown plumage on the upper parts, and darker wings.
Baltimore Oriole Appearance



DietThe Baltimore Oriole diet consists of insects, especially the Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth Larvae, fruit, preferably ripe, and dark-colored and berries, including mulberries and cherries.
Communication StylesThe male’s voice is a loud, flute-like whistle with a buzzy bold quality. He usually sings high in canopies, far out of sight, in efforts to establish his territory. The female’s songs are shorter and often forms of communication with her partner.
Migratory BehaviorMedium- to long-distance migrant. Spends summer in eastern and central North America and winter in Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Range of Habitation



High, leafy trees in open woodland, forest edge, river banks, and small groves of trees.


eastern screech owls, coopers, sharp-shinned hawks, common grackles, american crows, blue jays, black-billed magpies, tree squirrels and house cats.

Mating and Breeding

Breeding Overview

Breeding BehaviorGenerally considered monogamous, although extra-pair copulation is somewhat common.
Breeding SeasonSpring
NestingSock-like hanging nests of twigs. 2-3 inches wide on top and a bulging bottom 3-4 inches wide.


Baltimore Oriole Eggs
ColorPale grayish or bluish white blotched with brown, black, or lavender.
Clutch Size3 to 7 egg(s)
Egg Laying MonthsSpring

Chick description

Helpless, eyes closed, with sparse white down.


Birding Facts

Interesting FactAlthough named for the physically similar Oriolidae family of the Old World, the Baltimore Oriole is actually a member of the blackbird family.
Best Season to ObserveSpring
Observation TipsLook for Baltimore Orioles high in leafy deciduous trees, but not in deep forests.
Other NamesNorthern Oriole

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