Puerto Rican Oriole (Icterus portoricensis)

Puerto Rican Oriole


The Puerto Rican oriole (Icterus portoricensis) is a species of bird in the family Icteridae, and genus Icterus or New World blackbirds. This species is a part of a subgroup of orioles (Clade A) that includes the North American orchard oriole, Icterus spurius, and the hooded oriole, Icterus cucullatus. Males and females are similar in size and color. Males weigh about 41.0 grams and females weigh about 36.6 g. The average wingspan of males and females is 96.9 and 92.1 mm, respectively. In 2008, Hofmann, Cronin, and Omland, conducted a study that showed there is little color difference in the feathers between the males and females of many tropical orioles, including the Puerto Rican oriole. This means that males and females both have elaborate colors, in contrast many temperate-zoned birds have brightly colored males and dull colored females.

Distribution And Habitat

The Puerto Rican Oriole is a common endemic species in Puerto Rico (Oberle 2018), whereas its presence in Vieques is unconfirmed (Gemmill 2015). This species occurs in forests, shade coffee plantations, citrus orchards, mangroves, palm groves, and gardens (Oberle 2018), especially where royal palms occur (J.A. Salguero-Faría, personal observation 2009). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 431 records within 270 hexagons or 56 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 270 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 20 percent (53) of the hexagons, probable in 20 percent (53), and possible in 60 percent (163), while the species was observed in an additional hexagon (<1 percent) but without evidence of breeding (see map). Puerto Rican Oriole distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Puerto Rican Oriole Distribution

Breeding Habits

Previously published reports indicate that the Puerto Rican Oriole breeds throughout the year, but it is most active from March to June (Raffaele and others 1998). It builds a fibrous hanging nest, which is often 263Puerto Rican Oriole/Calandria de Puerto Ricoplaced in a palm tree (Oberle 2018). Atlas results confirm the breeding information described in the literature (see chart). Results show that the Puerto Rican Oriole breeds mostly within the subtropical moist and subtropical wet forest life zones (65 and 26 percent of the hexagons, respectively) (see table and map).


The Puerto Rican Oriole population is in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation (BirdLife International 2016), but it is classified as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Nonetheless, it is currently threatened by cowbird nest parasitism (Oberle 2018). Locally, this species is listed as Data Deficient (PRDNER 2015). In Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican Oriole has a protected habitat in land of 12 percent or 794 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (6410 km2).