Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2014-001b

Common name:

Streak-backed Oriole

Scientific name: Icterus pustulatus
Date: Jan 3 through 9+
Time: various
Length of time observed: hours
Number: 1
Age: first-year male / adult female
Location: Green Springs
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Distance to bird: various
Optical equipment: 8x42 binoculars
Light Conditions: various from direct sun to complete cloud cover
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Russell Schreiner discovered an oriole in the riparian adjacent to the Green Springs Golf Course on December 26, 2013 during the St. George Christmas Bird Count. Russell relocated the oriole on 12/31. I was forwarded the photos by Van Remsen and we eventually identified the oriole as a streak-backed. Kevin Wheeler (with Russell) confirmed the oriole s identity on Jan 02. Fortunately the oriole remained in the area as I was in Florida until the 4th. The oriole has been present through 01/09. The oriole spent much of its time in the riparian area and desert edge along the Green Springs Golf Course (east of Green Springs Drive where originally viewed), but frequently moved into the desert willows west of Green Springs Drive to feed. The desert willows are along the sidewalk between Green Springs Drive and the Chaparral Development. Seth and Marshall Topham and I worked to determine what the oriole was eating over a few days and finally determined it was finding larvae in the desert willow pods. Marshall believed they were Hymenoptera larvae (or possibly Coleoptera).

Relatively large oriole, the size of a northern but with a longer tail. Overall yellowish orange, brightest orange on face (malar area) and upper breast, with black lores and black narrow bib extending down throat. Crown olive/ yellow with indistinct dark markings. Yellow belly, rump, and undertail coverts. Back greenish yellow with thin black streaks arranged in vertical rows on mantle. Wings dark with distinct white wingbars and broad edging on primaries, secondaries, and tertials. Tail mostly dark with yellow/olive hues. Legs and eye dark. Thick, straight bill with dark upper mandible and bluish gray lower mandible with dark tip.
(see photos, especially T and U)
Song or call & method of delivery: The oriole often gave a short, soft rattle call reminiscent of a Baltimore but softer, and occasionally gave a soft, clear tweep whistle somewhat reminiscent of a Hooded Oriole. Note on audio file: there is a lot of traffic noise but the oriole calls at 2,5,15,20,22,and 26 seconds (soft whistle and combined whistle followed immediately by rattle at 5 seconds).
Behavior: mostly foraging for larval insects in desert willow pods (Chilopsis linearis)
Habitat: Golf course, residential, desert scrub, riparian thicket
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Combination of yellow orange head with narrow black bib, thin streaks on back, and bill pattern (with all dark upper mandible) distinctive.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Only viewed SBOr a few times in Arizona and Mexico, but very familiar with other NA orioles
References consulted: discussed and determined id based on initial photos with Van Remsen prior to viewing the oriole.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Found by Russell Schreiner. Independently identified by Kevin Wheeler. Also observed by Dan Trujillo, Jane Day, Maurice Demille, Denise Blyn, Diane Iverson, Seth Topham, Steve Carr, Pat Jividin, Marshall Topham, Christian and Molly Edwards, Sheri Whitfield, and many, many, others.
Date prepared: 01-09-2014
Additional material: Photos, audio
Additional_Comments: Oriole still present through at least 01/09. Notes above copied from field notes.