The song of Audubon’s Oriole—a low, slurred warble—almost sounds like a person learning to whistle. Both males and females sing a series of long notes, often calling to each other as they forage or come and go from the nest.
Once known as the Black-headed Oriole, Audubon’s Oriole is the only yellow oriole with a black hood and a yellow back found in the United States. Less than five percent of its population occurs in the U.S., making it a much sought-after species by birders.
The bird was once common in the Lower Rio Grande Valley but began to decline there in the 1920s because of the destruction of thorn and riparian forests for agriculture. Populations have declined significantly not only in Texas but in much of its Mexican range, following conversion of its preferred habitat to crops and pastureland. Brood parasitism by the Bronzed Cowbird, facilitated by habitat fragmentation, is also a major problem.
Audubon’s Oriole is a priority species for the Rio Grande Joint Venture, which includes ABC and a network of private and public partners. The best hope for this species’ recovery are efforts to protect and restore native vegetation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!