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Team Sport of Maryland
The Baltimore Oriole
The Baltimore Oriole is the state bird of Maryland. The bird was named after George Calvert, first baron of Baltimore whose servant's colors were the same as the birds.
The male Baltimore is the only oriole with a fully black hood and back and orange in the tail. The rump and underparts are orange. Adult males have a single white wingbar and an orange shoulder patch on black wings. Adult female and first-summer male are quite variable, showing two white wingbars, various amounts of orange in the underparts, and black on throat, hood or upperparts. The presence of orange differentiates female Baltimore Orioles from the similar but yellowish Orchard Oriole.
Like the male, the female Baltimore Oriole resemble female Bullock's Orioles but have more extensive orange or orangish-yellow on the underparts, which fades gradually to the gray of the belly. Bullock's females show an abrupt change from a yellowish throat to the gray belly and have more extensive yellow on the cheeks and a yellowish supercilium contrasting with darker eyeline. Baltimore Orioles have a yellowish wash to rump while the rumps of Bullock's are grayish.
Young male Baltimore Orioles do not achieve adult plumage until the fall of their second year. But some first-year males with female-like plumage succeed in attracting a mate and nest successfully.
The Baltimore Oriole, although found throughout the Union, is so partial to particular sections or districts, that of two places not twenty miles distant from each other, while none are to be seen in the one, a dozen pairs or more may be in the neighbourhood of the other. They are fondest of hilly grounds, refreshed by streams.
Neotropical migrant, it spends summers primarily the eastern United States. It breeds from Wisconsin to Maine and south to central Mississippi and Alabama, northern Georgia, and western South Carolina and North Carolina. It winters in the neotropics and as far north as Mexico and sometimes the southern coast of the United States. It eats insects, some small fruits, and nectar. It is an important predator on the nuisance forest tent caterpillar Malacosoma disstria, which it eats in both its larval and pupal forms. Prefers open woods. The Oriole is rare on farmlands but may be found in suburban areas. In Mexico, it winters in flowering canopy trees over shade coffee plantations.
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