New World oriole
|New World orioles|
|Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula|
New World orioles are a group of birds in the genus Icterus. They are in the blackbird family, and not related to Old World orioles of the family Oriolidae. Icterid species are strikingly similar in size, diet, behaviour, and strongly contrasting plumage to Old World orioles. This is a good example of convergent evolution.
Males are typically black and vibrant yellow or orange with white markings, females and immature birds duller. They moult annually. New World orioles are generally slender with long tails and a pointed bill. They mainly eat insects, but also enjoy nectar and fruit. The nest is a woven, elongated pouch. Species nesting in areas with cold winters are strongly migratory, while subtropical and tropical species are more sedentary (do not migrate.
The genus name Icterus as used by classical authors, referred to a bird with yellow or green plumage. In modern times this has been identified as the golden oriole. Brisson mistakenly re-applied the name to the New World birds because of their similarity in appearance.