Flame-headed Oriole, Scarlet-headed Oriole
Primarily found along the west coast of Mexico and Central America, but are also occasional visitors in the Southwestern United States
Subspecies, Ranges & Identification
The subspecies are divided amongst three groups, and the males occurring in the northern range are brightly colored with dull-plumaged females. As one moves southwards, the female plumages become gradually brighter until at the southern end of their distribution, the females look like the males.
Streak-backed Orioles measure about 7.87 inches (200 mm) in length (including the tail); the wingspan ranges from 3.54 - 4.65 inches (90 - 118 mm); and they weight between 2.47 - 3.00 oz (70 - 85 grams). Males are generally larger than females.
Scarlet-headed Oriole Group (northernmost group)
So named for the rich salmon to reddish feathers on the male's head (which gave this group also the names of Flame-headed or Scarlet-headed Orioles). Males have a much brighter plumage than females.
The northern subspecies are partially migratory.
- Icterus pustulatus pustulatus (Wagler, 1829) - Nominate Form
- Range: South from Colima south to northern Oaxaca and east from Guanajuarto to Merelos, Puebla, and West Vercuz
- ID: Slightly larger in size than ssp. i.p. microstictus below.
- Icterus pustulatus microstictus Griscom, 1934
- Range: West Mexico from Sonora and western Chihuahua south to Jalisco. Some overwinter as far south as the state of Guerrero (southwestern Mexico).
The Tres Marías Oriole Group:
Plumage paler. Almost no streaking on backs. Females resemble males; except for having olive-colored tails.
- Icterus pustulatus graysonii Cassin, 1867
- Range: Restricted to the Tres Marías islands which lie along the western coast of Mexico (Nayarit)
Streak-backed Oriole Group (the southern group)
Larger in size; have entirely orange heads, and are almost completely monchromatic. Females can occasionally have some olive coloration.
- Icterus pustulatus alticola (W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925)
- Range: Occur in the dry areas of southern Guatemala and central western Honduras.
- ID: The back is the least streaked of all subspecies and is sometimes completely black.
- Icterus pustulatus maximus (Griscom, 1930)
- Range: Found in the arid Rio Negro valley in north central Guatemala.
- ID: Resemble ssp. I. p. aticola; but head is mostly yellow instead of orange.
- Icterus pustulatus sclateri (Cassin, 1867)
- Range: The most southerly population (may occasionally breed with Icterus pustulatus alticola) - occurs along the Pacific coast - from El Salvador south to northwestern Costa Rica.
- ID: Often larger than other subspecies. Head bright yellow. Back broadly streaked.
- Icterus pustulatus formosus (Lawrence, 1872)
- Range: Found in the extreme south of Mexico and northwestern Guatemala.
- ID: The head is a bright yellow-orange color.
- Icterus pustulatus pustuloides (van Rossem, 1927)
- Range: Endemic to the vicinity of Volcán San Miguel, in southern east central El Salvador.
- ID: Resemble ssp. I. p. alticola, except the head is reddish-orange in color.