Epaulet Oriole Icterus cayanensis

  • © Michel Giraud-Audine

The Epaulet Oriole is widespread in South America, although there is much geographic variation. In the north of the range the Epaulet Oriole has a bright yellow shoulder patch, while in the south of the distribution the shoulder patch is dark chestnut, and some populations are somewhat intermediate in look. Furthermore the northern birds are known to hybridize with the Moriche Oriole (Icterus chrysocephalus). Recent evidence suggests that the yellow-shouldered birds are more closely related, and perhaps even conspecific with the Moriche Oriole; yet the southern dark-shouldered birds are different in their song, behavior, and that they may even be potentially sympatric with yellow-winged birds in parts of Bolivia. It is quite likely that the Epaulet Oriole will be divided soon, with southern birds having the name “Variable Oriole.” The “Variable Oriole” is a slim, dark, and unornamented oriole; it is the southernmost of all orioles. They are found in pairs and family groups in open forest and forest edge, often riparian (gallery) forests. They give a varied assortment of harsh calls, and more melodious songs, but also have the unusual behavior of mimicking raptors and other large birds.

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Song (Moriche)

© Gregory Budney

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

Recommended Citation

Epaulet Oriole (Icterus cayanensis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/epaori1