Altamira Oriole: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Discover interesting Altamira oriole facts.

Altamira oriole (Icterus gularis) is an oriole of the New World. According to range maps, this bird has a wide distribution range in the North American continent in the Mexico Gulf Coast subtropical lowlands, the north part of Central America, and the Pacific Coast. Since 1939, they have spread to southern Texas and are residents in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. Texas followed by Mexico is home to one of the largest ranges of Altamira oriole resident birds today. They are yellow and orange with a bit of black in color. Altamira orioles are the largest oriole of the Icterus genus in North America. They have a mass of 1.7 oz (56 g) and a length of 9.8 in (25 cm).

The bird starts making its nest with the open woodlands as its preferred nesting site. Its nest has a characteristic long woven pouch. The pouch attaches itself to the end of a tree branch which is horizontal. Sometimes it is attached to telephone wires which are another nesting site. The nesting process starts in March. Altamira orioles forage high in trees and sometimes in undergrowth too. They mainly survive by feeding on berries and insects. These birds also feed off fruits and nuts available on bird feeders in houses, meaning bird feeders facilitate easy feeding.

The range maps do not indicate any migration habits in the Altamira oriole (Icterus gularis) species. These birds are permanent residents and do not migrate like the ones that are breeding in the US. Altamira orioles are sexually monomorphic. The males and females of the Altamira oriole both have a patterning and elaborate coloration. Their breeding season starts in March or April and lasts to July.

You may also check out the fact files on hooded oriole and golden oriole from Kidadl.

Altamira Oriole

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small fruits, berries, hackberries, figs, crickets, grasshoppers, and caterpillars

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-7 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1.97 oz (56 g)

How long are they?

10 in (25 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Yellow orange and black, white marked wings, and black back

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Snakes and Bassaricus species

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Semi arid areas, open riparian woodland, and forests


Mexico Gulf Coast, Central America, Rio Grande Valley (Southern Texas), and North America





Scientific Name

Icterus gularis





Altamira Oriole Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Altamira oriole?

The Altamira oriole (Icterus gularis) is a type of bird.

What class of animal does an Altamira oriole belong to?

A North American Altamira oriole (Icterus gularis) belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Altamira orioles are there in the world?

It is estimated that their population is roughly in the range of five to 50 million individuals who have attained maturity.

Where does an Altamira oriole live?

Altamira orioles prefer to live in a native site like open riparian woodland areas, lightly wooded areas, farms, and thorn forest tree regions. They are nowadays found in the Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas, North America, Central America, and the Mexico Gulf Coast. After 1939, they spread to non-native sites in Texas forest habitats.

What is an Altamira oriole's habitat?

General Altamira oriole habitat types range between forest, shrubland, and savanna sites. The Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis) species are residents of the habitats of semi arid areas with scattered trees. The bird is a resident in the habitats of open riparian woodland range, lightly wooded areas, farms, orchards, thorn forest, and parks sites.

Who do Altamira orioles live with?

Orioles are generally resident solitary species outside their mating season but can be found living in pairs in the family nest.

How long does an Altamira oriole live?

The Altamira oriole (Icterus gularis) species can live for a range of 10-12 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Altamira orioles family are monogamous and seen in pairs. The breeding season lasts from March or April to July, mostly in the summer months. They start searching for nesting sites and making their nests by March in their habitat. They produce one brood per season but south populations also produce a second brood. For the second brood, they will build the nests again. Nests are hanging baskets made entirely by females. Breeding nests are are completed after three weeks, for example if they start building their breeding nests in March they complete it by April. They are built on a branch or hanging from a telephone wires line. These breeding nests are not accessible to non avian predators. Statistically, nine out 10 nests of orioles are built on the canopy of trees.

The average clutch size per female in the breeding season is between three to seven eggs. The eggs are incubated for a fortnight. Both parent orioles are involved int eh feeding and caring of the hatchlings. The time taken to fledge is not known. They return each year to the same territory but not necessarily the same nest.

What is their conservation status?

Altamira orioles are listed as Least Concern by the Red List of IUCN for conservation. They are not considered threatened but their local populations may still be negatively affected by the destruction of habitat. Currently, there are not many conservation efforts as the conservation of this species is not considered imperative right now.

They are abundant in the North American continent habitat especially in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas.

Altamira Oriole Fun Facts

What do Altamira oriole look like?

Altamira orioles are brightly hued birds, with yellow or orange and black feathers. They have white bifurcations on their wings. They have black backs and orange front bodies. The males and females both look alike. These American birds have black throats, mandible, wings, and tails. Their flight feathers, also called remiges and rectrices, are white colored. Baby Altamira orioles have dull olive colored markings on their backs and throats.

The remiges and rectrices of an Altamira oriole are fringed with white.

How cute are they?

Altamira orioles are a small and colorful species of birds. These American birds have a sweet whistle like call and look very cute.

How do they communicate?

The Altamira oriole communicates through songs, whistles, calls, and some body movements. Their song is described as loud, musical, and having a series of whistles resembling a rookie human whistler. Their song is a two note whistle like call. They use harsh and raspy notes as an alarm call. Their quick and nasal sound ‘ike’ is used as a contact call among the adults and can be used upon arriving at the nest. They show territorial and aggressive behavior around the nest.

Altamira oriole nestlings make low pitched and relatively quiet begging calls. The nestlings in northern Texas produce no sound to avoid  predators, unlike southern Texas nestlings.  Altamira orioles use hearing and their keen vision as their modes of perception.

How big is an altamira oriole?

The Altamira oriole measures about 9.8 in (25 cm) in length. It is about twice the size of an Atlantic canary.

How fast can an Altamira oriole fly?

The flight speed of an Altamira oriole bird is not recorded.

How much does an Altamira oriole weigh?

The Altamira oriole bird weighs about 1.9 oz (56 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both male and female Altamira orioles are called by the same name.

What would you call a baby altamira oriole?

A baby Altamira oriole is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Altamira orioles are mainly insectivores. They occasionally eat nectar and fruits from trees. It is a possibility that they may eat nuts and seeds due to the structure of their bill. They are forage gleaners who search for food within the trees. Their diet includes insects like grasshoppers, caterpillars, and crickets. They also include fruits in their diet like figs, hackberries, and small fruits from trees. Hanging bird feeders carrying fruits like berries, nuts, and seeds are also an attraction for them.

Nestlings are mainly fed insect larvae and orthopterans, meaning nestlings are mainly insect eaters.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous to humans. These songbirds can, however, kill hummingbirds to establish their dominance.

Would they make a good pet?

No, Altamira orioles are not good pets. The behavior of these birds is suited for the wild. They are used to wildlife and so it is difficult to manage them at home and their care requirements are difficult to satisfy. Orioles as pets are illegal to keep in many places. They can be attracted to your home using bird feeders filled with fruits and nuts. Oriole feeders should be placed away from a windy area as the food in the feeders might spill.

Did you know…

Orioles are associated with things and unknown creatures from the world of hell. They are a species with secretive behavior who do not want to reveal their identity to us. They are also signs which say that we should never forget the things which used to make us happy in our childhood. These American birds, Altamira orioles, are the largest oriole species in the genus Icterus.

These birds are attracted to the color orange and special feeders have been designed to attract them. These hanging feeders are orange in color.

These birds symbolize loyalty and friendship.

Do Orioles have long tongues?

Altamira orioles, the largest oriole in the family, have long tongues. Their tongues resemble a brush that they use to lap up nectar.

How did the orioles get their name?

Altamira orioles were earlier known as Lichtenstein’s oriole for a major part of the 19th and 20th centuries. They were named in honor of Martin Lichtenstein who was a German natural historian. In Berlin, he was a professor of zoology and also the founder of Berlin’s Zoological Gardens.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our partridge facts and red bellied woodpecker facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our golden oriole coloring pages.



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