This oriole was formerly considered conspecific with all of the four species that were briefly considered to form part of the Greater Antillean Oriole (Icterus dominicensis), on the Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. The mainland population, which has retained the vernacular name Black-cowled Oriole, is found over the Caribbean slope of Middle America, from southern Mexico to western Panama. Two subspecies are generally recognized for these mainland birds. The sexes differ in plumage, with males being largely black above and over the head and neck, other than the yellow rump and lesser wing coverts, while the belly and ventral underparts are also yellow. In contrast, females are black only over the face and foreneck, and on the wings, being olive-green over the mantle to tail, with indistinct yellow epaulets, and largely yellow underparts.