Icterus – New World orioles

Masterful weavers—can use even strands of hair or string

New World orioles are a splash of sunshine in the Americas. Unlike their Old World namesakes, these aren’t closely related, but they share a love for vibrant colors and a talent for thrilling songs. Imagine a group of feathered acrobats, their bodies sleek and slender, dipped in a palette of inky black, fiery orange, and sunshine yellow. Some species even have pops of white or chestnut, making them a dazzling sight flitting through the trees.

These orioles are social butterflies, but not the kind that travel in massive flocks. They prefer smaller, close-knit groups, usually family units or a handful of companions. They’re a talkative bunch, filling the air with a symphony of whistles, warbles, and even some harsh scolds. Their calls are like a secret language, with different songs for everything from attracting a mate to warning about danger. Imagine a sweet melody to impress your sweetheart and a sharp chirp to alert your family about a lurking hawk – that’s how versatile these feathered singers are.

New World orioles are all about variety when it comes to food. They’re adventurous eaters, enjoying a buffet of fruits, insects, and even nectar. Their sharp beaks are perfect for snatching juicy berries, while their strong feet help them cling to branches as they hunt for caterpillars or beetles. Some species even have a sweet tooth, sipping nectar from flowers with their long, forked tongues.