South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Baltimore Oriole

Icterus galbula

Length: 7 - 8 inches Wingspan: 11 - 12 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Black hood and back, with orange underparts, rump, and shoulder patch.  

Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbulaThis bird was formerly considered to belong to the same species as the western Bullock's Oriole, under the combined name of "Northern Oriole".  South Dakota birds can be variously intermediate between the two species, as they interbreed where their ranges come into contact.  A male is pictured on the right, while links to female Baltimore Orioles can be found at the bottom of the page.

Habitat: Woodlands, riverside groves, residential areas.

Diet: Insects, berries, and nectar.  In summer, primarily insects.  Eats many berries and sometimes cultivated fruit 

Behavior: Forages by moving through the foliage of trees and shrubs in search of insects.  Will also go take nectar from flowers. 

Nesting: Mid-May through August in South Dakota.  The nest is a large hanging bag-shaped pouch of grasses, vines, string, bark strips, or other linear, thin material.  The female lays 4 or 5 eggs, with the female alone incubating them.  After the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the nestlings, who leave the nest after about 2 weeks.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Baltimore Oriole sightings

Song: Baltimore Oriole Song

Migration: Neotropical migrant, although some may winter in the Southeastern U.S.  Generally migrates quite early in the fall.

Similar Species: Bullock's Oriole in South Dakota.  Click here to see a comparison between the two. Elsewhere in parts of their normal range, could be confused with the Hooded Oriole or Altamira Oriole.

Bird Feeders: Oranges, peanut butter and suet, sometimes sugar water/nectar.  Specialized "oriole feeders" are sold which help birders offer fruit, jelly, or nectar to oriole species.

Conservation Status: Widespread and generally stable.  The IUCN lists the Baltimore Oriole as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Baltimore Oriole

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Baltimore Oriole"

3) Baltimore Oriole

Photo Information: May 20th, 2004 -- Home in Brandon -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Baltimore Oriole photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Baltimore Oriole - Species Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant and Summer breeder in the eastern part of the state.  Uncommon in the western part of the state.