Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Yellow-tailed Oriole (Icterus mesomelas)


French: Oriole à queue jaune German: Gelbschwanztrupial Spanish: Turpial coliamarillo

Ps[arocolius]. mesomelas


, 1829,

Chalcaltianges, Veracruz, Mexico


Hybridizes rarely with I. chrysater. Form I. xantholemus, known only from type specimen supposedly taken in Ecuador and previously thought to be immature of present species or perhaps a hybrid of unknown parentage, now shown to be a synonym of Xanthopsar flavus. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. m. mesomelas (Wagler, 1829) – S Mexico (from Veracruz) S to Honduras.
  • I. m. salvinii Cassin, 1867 – Caribbean lowlands from Nicaragua S to W Panama (Bocas del Toro).
  • I. m. carrikeri Todd, 1917 – Panama (from E of Canal) S on both coasts to W & C Colombia and NW Venezuela (Zulia, Táchira and Mérida).
  • I. m. taczanowskii Ridgway, 1901 – Pacific coast of Ecuador and NW Peru (Tumbes, also upper Marañón Valley).
  • Descriptive notes

    20·5–23·5 cm; male average 49·7 g, female average 38·5 g. Nominate race has face, throat to centre of breast, mantle and back, most of wing and central tail feathers black;... read more


    Rich mellow song, by both sexes, consists of repeated phrases in which warbles mixed with trills;... read more


    Inhabits humid places, including thick low shrubbery and bamboo, second-growth forest, swamp-forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and other arthropods, e.g. centipedes (Chilopoda); also some fruit and nectar (including Erythrina). Stomach contents... read more


    Season Apr–Jun in Costa Rica and Panama, and Sept–Nov in N Colombia. Probably monogamous. Solitary breeder. Nest a pendent shallow basket... read more


    Appears resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in much of range; uncommon in Peru. Widely captured as a cagebird, and for that reason locally scarce in Costa Rica. Found in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fraga, R. (2020). Yellow-tailed Oriole (Icterus mesomelas). 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 28 January 2020).