Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater

  • © Nick Athanas

The Yellow-backed Oriole is well-named, as it is one of the very few species of orioles with a yellow back. Indeed, this oriole shows only two colors, yellow and black: the wings are entirely black, the feathers lacking the white or yellow feather margins that are shown by most other species of oriole. The Yellow-backed Oriole has an oddly discontinuous distribution: it occurs from southern Mexico south to northeastern Nicaragua, and again from Panama south to northern Colombia and Venezuela, but is absent from Costa Rica and from most of Nicaragua. Like most tropical species of orioles, Yellow-backed Orioles usually travel in pairs or in family groups. This oriole has a very broad elevational range, ranging up to 2500 m in Central America and almost to 2700 m in Colombia. In contrast to most species of tropical Icterus, the Yellow-backed Oriole may be partially migratory, at least in the northern population. The closest relatives of the Yellow-backed Oriole are two species from northern Central America and the southern United States, the Scott's Oriole (Icterus parisorum) and Audubon's Oriole (Icterus graduacauda).

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© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Yellow-backed Oriole (Icterus chrysater), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: