Orioles of Missouri (2 Species to Know)

Orioles are beautiful birds well known for their bright coloration. There are many different oriole species that live in North America and two of them are regular visitors to Missouri. Here is everything you need to know about these two species.

Baltimore Oriole

Male Baltimore Oriole – Photo by USFWS Midwest Region
Female Baltimore Oriole – Photo by Judith Jackson

Male Baltimore Orioles have a bright orange chest, underside, tail, and patch on the shoulder. They have black wings with white wing bars and a black hood extending slightly into the upper chest. Females are slightly less colorful with a yellowish orange body and gray wings with white wing bars.


Baltimore Orioles spend the winter in Northern South America, Central America, Southern Mexico and much of Florida. In spring they migrate north and summer throughout the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Baltimore Orioles eat a variety of foods and their diet varies seasonally. In spring and fall they readily feed on fruit and nectar but during summer they feed primarily on protein rich food items such as insects and other invertebrates. Baltimore Orioles are known to come to bird feeders if jelly or orange slices are placed out and may even come to hummingbird feeders.

It’s worth noting that there is debate over whether or not jelly is good for birds due to the high sugar content.

Where to Find This Bird

Look for Baltimore Orioles high up in deciduous trees. They prefer more open areas such as edge habitat and small groves of trees to thick forests. Also keep an eye out for orioles at bird feeding stations. To attract them, orange slices are often enough to entice them in.

Orchard Oriole

Male Orchard Oriole
Female Orchard Oriole – Photo by Andrew Weitzel

Adult male Orchard Orioles are a deep burnt orange color with a black head, back, wings, and tail. They have white edging on some of their wing feathers. Female Orchard Orioles are yellow with dark gray wings and look vastly different than the adult males.


Orchard Orioles winter in Northern South America, Central America, and Southern Mexico. In spring, they start their migration north with their range expanding into much of the Eastern United States and a small portion of South-central Canada. Some part of the population summers in North-central Mexico.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Orchard Orioles eat many different types of foods including insects, fruit, and nectar. They have been known to dip their heads into flowers, feed at hummingbird feeders, and even priece certain types of flowers to get a meal.

Where to Find This Bird

Orchard Orioles are at home in open areas such as oak savannas, forest edges, and woodlands near prairies. They typically reside in the tree tops where it is sometimes easier to hear them than it is to see them. Listen for this species’ melodic song that sounds somewhat similar to an American Robin or Rose-breasted Grosbeak.


Orioles are bright and exciting birds to see while out birding or while watching your bird feeder. Knowing which species to expect in your region can be incredibly useful in identifying these charismatic birds. Hopefully, this article has helped to answer some of your questions about the orioles of Missouri.

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