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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Icterus graduacauda
POPULATION: Fewer than 5,000 in U.S., but most of range is in Mexico.
HABITAT: Riparian and live-oak woods.
Formerly known as the Black-headed Oriole, the flashy but furtive Audubon’s Oriole is one of North America’s two yellow-and-black orioles. (The other is Scott’s Oriole, also found in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico.) Audubon’s Oriole, like the Green Jay, is a species sought after by birders visiting Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Although as brightly colored as a Green Jay or Painted Bunting, this large oriole can be a challenge to spot. Bright yellow is often difficult to distinguish amid green foliage, and unlike the more familiar Baltimore Oriole, Audubon’s Oriole tends to remain deep under cover, where it is more often heard than seen.