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Icterus oberi

Montserrat Oriole

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Icteridae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Oppel, Steffen, Andrew Cassini, James Daley and Calvin Fenton

Icterus oberi

Centre Hills, Montserrat, Lesser Antilles; 18 April 2012 © Steffen Oppel

Montserrat Oriole is a critically endangered species endemic to an endangered island. The small island of Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles has been under the spell of the Soufriere Hills volcano since 1995, when the volcano became active and lava flows and ashfall destroyed the southern half of this beautiful island. Montserrat Oriole inhabits mesic to wet neotropical forests, and these forests are now restricted to two areas of the island: the Centre Hills (1110 ha) and the South Soufriere Hills (250 ha). The future of this oriole is uncertain, but over the past 10 years the population has been relatively stable. The gravest threats to the continued existence of the species are forest loss, volcanic ashfall, and non-native mammals that destroy nests and the forest. Among the Caribbean members of the genus Icterus, Montserrat Oriole is the only one that shows substantial sexual dimorphism in plumage coloration. The male is black above, on the head and breast and tawny-orange on the lower breast and belly as well as the rump and lower back. The female is dull greenish above, and yellowish tawny below. Their hanging nest is a shallow basket that is woven below the leaf of a forest Heliconia.

Recommended Citation

Oppel, Steffen, Andrew Cassini, James Daley and Calvin Fenton. 2012. Montserrat Oriole (Icterus oberi), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Understory/Midstory
  • Foraging Behavior:Pry
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Pendant
  • Clutch: 1 - 4
  • IUCN Status:Critically Endangered