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Orchard Oriole vs Baltimore Oriole

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orchard oriole vs baltimore oriole

You will know that orioles are visiting your backyard because of their bright colors and magnificent vocals. This bird species is a member of the blackbird family where species are often compared because of their similarities: orchard oriole vs Baltimore oriole.

Baltimore oriole is more popular among the two. However, even with the lesser popularity of the orchard oriole, these two birds still share features that make them difficult to recognise. This article will know the difference between Baltimore oriole and orchard oriole in terms of physical traits, colors, size, and other factors.

Features Baltimore Oriole Orchard Oriole
Migration Arrives Early and Leaves Early During Migration Arrives Last and Leave Last During Migration
Size Bigger Smaller
Physical Appearance Bright-Orange Color Below the Tails Deep-Brownish Red Color Below the Tails
Behavior Lives in Mature Trees Lives in Young Trees
Food Insects Fruit and Nectar

Migration Habit

The Baltimore oriole and orchard oriole are both migratory birds which mean they migrate during the breeding and non-breeding season. But what is unique about these two birds is that they share the same locations where they stay during the two seasons.

These two birds go to the eastern portion of the United States and in North America, particularly Canada, during the non-breeding season. Then, these two bird species spend the non-breeding season in Central America and Mexico.

Time of Migration

The difference between the two birds during the migration is the time of their arrival and departure between the two seasons. The Baltimore Orioles are expected to arrive late during the winter in the tropics but are also expected to live late for the breeding season.

On the other hand, the orchard oriole is scheduled to arrive earlier in the tropics during the winter season but is expected to leave early for the breeding season. This information is important because these two birds share the same habitat during breeding and non-breeding seasons.

For the Baltimore Orioles, it is expected that they will arrive in North America for the winter season by mid-April. They will return to the wintering ground by mid-August and start in Central America for the breeding season in late September. It is expected that they will stay for about five and a half months before returning north.

For the orchard orioles, the birds are expected to arrive in North America by late April and will start returning to the wintering ground by late August. It is expected that they will be back in Mexico and Central America in Mid-September, where they will stay for four and a half months during the breeding season.

Size Difference

difference between orchard oriole vs baltimore oriole

In general, the overall size of the Baltimore orioles is bigger compared to the orchard orioles. It also has a longer wingspan and is heavier in weight. The table below will show the difference between the two birds in terms of size, wingspan, and weight.

Physical Features Baltimore Orioles Orchard Orioles
Length 8.75 Inches 7.25 Inches
Wing Span 11.5 Inches 9.25 Inches
Weight 36 Grams 19 Grams

Physical Appearance

orchard baltimore oriole
Orchard vs Baltimore oriole

The physical appearance of the two bird species are completely different between male and female. There are also significant differences in the young bird’s physical appearance, which means even the young ones differ from each other.

The male Baltimore orioles come with black wings, heads, and back. However, there are some characteristics of bright oranges just below on their tails. The female and young Baltimore orioles are dull when it comes to their head parts. It shows some yellow color or pale orange, or just tan below.

The male and female Baltimore orioles come with strong white wing bars on their dark wings. Both sexes also come with pointed and sharp bills, which is expected when the bird species is a member of the blackbird family.

There is not much difference in the physical appearance of the orchard oriole compared to the Baltimore oriole. However, the lesser popular orchard oriole’s male counterpart comes with a deep-brownish red color in their tails.


Another difference between the two birds is the way they behave, particularly in their eating and nesting habits. Baltimore orioles love to eat fruit, which means any backyard birder can just put berries and other fruits to lure them into the backyard.

Their nesting habits are also unique since they like to hang and build their nest in mature trees near open areas such as farm fields, yards, and parks. It is also a fact that it will be rare to see a Baltimore oriole deep in the forest.

On the other hand, orchard orioles are like young woods or orchards that are located on forest edges. Unlike Baltimore orioles, you will rarely see orchard orioles in parks, yards, and other open spaces.


Orchard orioles love nectar and fruits. So, if it is available in the garden, there is a high probability that the bird will visit the backyard. They also love to drink nectar from flowers when they are in the woodlands. They also like to feed on insects if it is available.

On the other hand, Baltimore orioles love to eat insects found in high trees. They also love to devour dark fruits if they are found in the garden. You can attract them by putting some fruits in the bird feeder.


Learning the difference between orchard oriole vs Baltimore oriole is an excellent knowledge to have as a birder. These two birds are almost the same, and the difference is very minimal. However, you can still find differences in their appearance, migration habits, behavior and other factors.

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