Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Moriche Oriole (Icterus chrysocephalus)


French: Oriole des moriches German: Goldkappentrupial Spanish: Turpial moriche

O[riolus]. chrysocephalus


, 1766,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Closely related to I. cayanensis, and often treated as conspecific with it and I. pyrrhopterus. Mitochondrial DNA data reveal small divergence (0.6%) between present species and I. cayanensis; intermediate or hybrid individuals reported mostly from Suriname, but they do not hybridize in areas of range overlap in Guyana and Brazil, nor in Sipaliwini area of C Suriname; hybridization possibly occurs locally when conspecifics scarce, but further study needed. Monotypic.


S & E Venezuela (S from E Apure, Sucre, Monagas and Delta Amacuro), Trinidad, Guyana, N & C Suriname and N French Guiana S in Amazonia to E Colombia, E Ecuador, N Peru (Loreto S to Huánuco) and NW Brazil (Roraima and Amazonas).

Descriptive notes

22 cm; male average 43·5 g, female average 42·1 g. Plumage is mostly black, with golden-yellow crown, nape, rump, lesser and median upperwing-coverts (epaulet)... read more


Song a slow series of ascending and descending notes, usually grouped in phrases of 2–3 notes... read more


Found mostly in groves of moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa) growing along marshes and... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), also other arthropods, mainly spiders (Araneae); also fruits and nectar. Nestling diet mostly... read more


Season Jul–Jan in Brazil (Amazonas) and Sept–Feb in Suriname; pair with fledgling in May in Guyana. Probably monogamous. Solitary breeder.... read more


Apparently resident.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Locally fairly common to uncommon. Relatively scarce or localized in Venezuela. Reports from Trinidad believed to involve escaped cagebirds. Frequently trapped... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2020). Moriche Oriole (Icterus chrysocephalus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).