Orioles are beautiful backyard birds because of their spectacular black and yellow or orange appearance. Whenever you see such a bird in your backyard, you may identify that as a Baltimore oriole. But, the reality is there are several similar-to-oriole birds out there.
So, which birds look like Baltimore orioles? Baltimore oriole look-alike birds are American robins, spotted towhees, barn swallows, varied thrushes, blackburnian warblers, American redstarts, black-headed grosbeaks, eastern bluebirds, and a few oriole species, including bullock’s orioles and orchard orioles.
Looking to know about some wookpecker look-alike birds? We have an article on similar species to northern cardinals. After reading this, we would recommend you have a look at that article. Hopefully, you’ll be introduced to such bird species you never saw before.
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Birds That Look Similar to Baltimore Orioles
#1. American Robin
American robins are mostly found all over the United States. During winter, these birds are usually available in southern Canada, central Mexico, and along the Pacific Coast. They mainly prefer woodlands, grasslands, suburban areas, and city parks.
- American robins are gray-brown overall with orange underparts.
- They have a fairly large body with a round, rusty belly.
- They have a dark head, yellow bills, and a long, dark tail.
- Their throats are streaky, and their legs are long.
- Females are paler than males.
Both Baltimore orioles and American robins have black heads, long tails, and sharp claws. American robins also have black-and-white stripes on the wings, just like Baltimore orioles have. In addition, the bellies of both birds are orange.
Baltimore orioles have much pointer bills than those of American robins. While Baltimore orioles have orange under the tails, American robins feature white under the tails. Besides, the bellies of American robins are slightly rounder than Baltimore orioles’ bellies.
#2. Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhees are distributed throughout Mexico, Canada, and most of the United States, particularly Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. These birds prefer brushy fields, chaparrals, dry uplands, and open forests.
- Spotted towhees have a long tail with prominent white flashes in flight.
- Males have a jet-black throat and upperparts.
- Females have greyish-brown upperparts and throat.
- They have a chunky body, a short neck, a white belly, pointed bills, and rufous sides.
- Their back and wings have spotted white.
Both Baltimore orioles and spotted towhees look quite similar in their body structures. Spotted towhees have pointed bills, short necks, rounded eyes, and sharp claws like what Baltimore orioles have. Both songbirds are 6 to 8 inches long.
The most noticeable difference is their distinct appearance. While Baltimore orioles are black in the back and yellow in front, spotted towhees are jet-black in the back and white and rufous in front. Besides, the eyes of spotted towhees are not entirely black.
#3. Barn Swallow
Barn swallows are available throughout the United States, southern parts of Canada, and most of Mexico. These birds prefer open habitats, like agricultural fields, parks, meadows, ponds, and coastal waters. Their nests are often spotted on human-made structures.
- Barn swallows feature steely blue wings, back, and tail.
- They have rufous to tawny underparts.
- They’re spotted white under the tail, which is visible in flight.
- The cinnamon-colored throat and forehead contrast the blue crown and face.
- Females are more lightly colored than males.
Barn swallows are almost the same size as Baltimore orioles. Both songbirds come with entirely black, rounded eyes and pointed bills. The short neck and the black legs with multiple small claws are common in them.
When perched, barn swallows look cone-shaped, but Baltimore orioles appear slightly rounded. In addition, barn swallows have a steely blue back and rufous to tawny underparts while Baltimore orioles appear black and yellow or orange.
#4. Varied Thrush
Varied thrushes are readily available throughout North America, especially in Alaska, Yukon Territory, Washington, Oregon, and the mountains in British Columbia. These birds usually live in moist conifer forests, dense foliage, and older conifer forests in high elevations.
- Varied thrushes feature a round head, a straight bill, and long legs.
- Adult males are blue-grey above and rich burnt-orange below.
- Females are much browner than males.
- Both sexes feature a burnt-orange breast.
- The wings are black with orange bars.
Both varied thrushes and Baltimore orioles feature straight bills. In addition, black, yellow, and orange are common in these bird species. Furthermore, both birds have small rounded irises. They have relatively long legs as well.
Varied thrushes are longer than Baltimore orioles. While varied thrushes are 8 to 10 inches long, Baltimore orioles are 6 to 8 inches. In appearance, adult males of varied thrushes are blue-grey on the back, but Baltimore orioles are entirely back above.
#5. Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian warblers are readily available all over northeastern North America. These birds primarily breed in the northern United States and southern Canada. They usually inhabit mature coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests.
- Blackburnian warblers feature a short, thin, pointed bill.
- These birds have a medium-length tail.
- They come with a black crown, triangular ear patch, and yellow eyebrow.
- Adult males have vivid orange in the throat and face.
- Females and immatures are paler and yellower than males.
Both blackburnian warblers and Baltimore orioles have a pointed bill. In addition, both birds feature black and white on their wings. Like Baltimore orioles, blackburnian warblers have small rounded eyes and relatively long, grey legs.
While Baltimore orioles are orange below, blackburnian warblers feature white underparts and the rich orange throat. Baltimore orioles come with a completely black head, but these birds come with a black crown, triangular ear patch, and yellow eyebrow.
#6. American Redstart
American redstarts are usually found in the eastern and northern United States and southern Canada. These birds overwinter Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They usually inhabit deciduous, moist, and second-growth woodlands.
- American redstarts feature a relatively wide, flat bill
- These birds have a fairly long, expressive, somewhat club-shaped tail.
- Both males and females are black with bright orange patches on their wings and tail.
- Adult females have a grey head and an olive back.
- The belly is white.
Both American redstarts and Baltimore orioles feature a completely black back. American redstarts also come with slightly orange underparts. Both bird species have small rounded eyes and thin legs.
While American redstarts feature white below, Baltimore orioles’ underparts are orange. In addition, Baltimore orioles have white patches on the wings, but American redstarts come with orange-patched wings.
#7. Black-Headed Grosbeak
Black-headed grosbeaks are widely distributed from southwestern Canada to the mountains of Mexico and the Pacific Coast to the middle of the United States. These birds usually inhabit patches of broadleaved trees, mixed forests, shrubs within conifer forests.
- Black-headed grosbeaks feature a large, greyish bill conical and thick at the base.
- These birds have large, black heads and thick, short necks.
- The tail is short and chunky.
- Adult males are brilliant orange-cinnamon.
- Females are brown above and warm orange or buff below.
Both black-headed grosbeaks and Baltimore orioles feature white patches on the wings. Besides, black-headed grosbeaks have a relatively long tail, small rounded irises, and black on the head and back.
Black-headed grosbeaks feature a conical bill, but Baltimore orioles’ bill is sharp and pointed. While Baltimore orioles are completely black above, black-headed grosbeaks have yellowish-orange on the neck.
#8. Eastern Bluebird
Eastern bluebirds are most common in the Rocky Mountains, southern Canada to the Gulf States, and southeastern Arizona. Nowadays, these birds have been living in open country around trees, agricultural fields, suburban parks, backyards, and golf courses.
- Eastern bluebirds have a round head, a big belly, and a short, straight bill.
- These birds have a plump body, large irises, and alert posture.
- The legs and tail are shorter but the wings are longer.
- Males are deep blue above and rusty or brick-red below.
- Females are greyish above and subdued orange-brown below.
Both eastern bluebirds and Baltimore orioles come in almost the same size, ranging from 16 to 21 cm. In addition, both birds feature similar types of irises, rounded heads, and long thin legs. The tail is relatively large in both cases.
While Baltimore orioles are black above and yellow or orange below, eastern bluebirds feature deep blue on the back and rusty or brick-red underparts. Baltimore orioles have a pointed bill, but eastern bluebirds’ bill is short and straight.
#9. Bullock’s Oriole
Bullock’s orioles are mainly found in western North America. These birds can also be available in Dakotas, Kansas, northern Central Texas, British Columbia, and Durango in Mexico. They usually inhabit riparian and open woodlands.
- Bullock’s orioles have a sharply pointed bill and a medium-long tail.
- These birds feature a black throat and a black line through the irises.
- Males are bright orange below and black above.
- They have large white patches on the wings.
- Females have a greyish back with white edge wing coverts.
Like Baltimore orioles, bullock’s orioles are black above and yellow below. Both birds feature a relatively long tail, white patches on the wings, and small rounded irises. Besides, they have sharp, pointed bills.
Bullock’s orioles feature a black line through irises, but Baltimore orioles have a completely black face and head. In addition, bullock’s orioles’ bill is shorter than that of Baltimore orioles. The white patch in the wings is larger in the bullock’s orioles.
#10. Orchard Oriole
Orchard orioles are widely distributed throughout North America, especially in the eastern United States and southern Canada. These birds usually live in open woodlands, semi-open areas with deciduous trees, parks, orchards, river edges, etc.
- Orchard orioles have a straight, sharply pointed bill.
- These birds have a rounded head and a medium-length tail.
- Males are rich reddish-chestnut below and black above.
- Females are greenish-yellow and don’t feature black.
- Immatures look like adult females.
Both Baltimore and orchard orioles are quite confusing. Like Baltimore orioles, orchard orioles feature small rounded irises, sharply pointed bills, and white patches in the wings. Both birds are black above and orange below.
White Baltimore orioles feature bright orange plumage, orchard orioles’ features are rich reddish-chestnut. Orchard orioles are slightly shorter than Baltimore orioles. In fact, orchard orioles have a rounded body, but Baltimore orioles come with a slender body.
Now that you know what birds look like Baltimore orioles, you can easily identify and differentiate them. Once you encounter any of them, offer them their favorite treats, like seeds, grains, fruits, berries, and more.
However, we hope you have learned a lot about the birds that look similar to orioles. If you have any experience with any of the above birds, comment down below. Share the article with your beloved ones.