Spot-breasted Oriole Icterus pectoralis

  • © Juan Carlos Vindas

Spot-breasted Oriole is a Mexican and Central American species that is reasonably well known by North American birders, as a small introduced population has been established for decades in Florida. In its native range, however, this species is restricted to the Pacific Slope. Its preferred habitat is open arid woodlands, often dominated by Mimosa, although it also occupies moister habitats and riparian sites. Spot-breasted Orioles forage in pairs or family groups. They eat a variety of foods, including nectar at flowers and fruit, but in the breeding season need arthropods to feed to the young. The English name is a good one, this is the only oriole that is characterized by having spots on the breast. In some populations, however, the spots are large and coalesce with the black bib. Spot-breasted is found side by side with two similar orioles, Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis) and Streak-backed Oriole (Isterus pustulatus); given some similarities in plumage you would think that these are closely related. In fact these two are not all that closely related to Spot-breasted, particularly in the case of Streak-backed. One of the unique plumage features of Spot-breasted Oriole is that it shows a large white patch created by broad white edges on the inner secondaries and tertials. It turns out that Spot-breasted Oriole is related to a group in which all show some white in wings, such as the troupials, and White-edged Oriole (Icterus graceannae), the latter of which is the closest relative of Spot-breasted Oriole.

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© Dale Delaney

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

Recommended Citation

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