Bahama Oriole Icterus northropi
Version: 2.0 — Published July 16, 2020
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Timing of breeding not well documented. Nesting behavior has been documented from March through August, with peak breeding likely from May–July.
Reported prefer to nest in more open areas with non-native coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) present (3), however, more recent observations suggest the species can be found nesting in most habitats on Andros (KEO).
Within developed areas nests are most frequently placed in coconut palm, and sometimes silver palm (Coccothrinax argentata) or banana (Musa sp.). In coconut palms, mean nest height is roughly 6 m above ground, and nests are more frequently are sited in the lower layers of palm fronds than in higher layers (3).
Within pine forests, they prefer to nest in areas with tall key thatch palm (Thrinax morisii) in the understory (4; B. M. Yancy et al., unpublished data). Nests are placed in key thatch palm, sabal palm (Sabal palmetto), as well as Caribbean pine (Pinus caribbea) (4). In pine forests, roughly half of nests are found 3–5 m up in key thatch palms and the other half around 6–10 m in pine branches high in the canopy (B. M. Yancy et al., unpublished data). In pine forests, nests may be located at least 1 km from forest edge (4).
Structure and Composition
The nest is an enclosed basket constructed of plant fibers and frequently suspended from palm fronds, as in related species.
Color and Surface Texture
Eggs white with a slight blue tint (8).
Typical clutch is 3 eggs.
Incubation lasts 12–14 d (3).
Only one parent, presumably the female, incubates.
Condition at Hatching
Growth and Development
Nestlings of both sexes are dull olive, with dusky gray-brown wings and pale greenish-yellow wingbars; underparts lighter, and the throat and lower belly tinged brighter yellow green (8).
Sex Ratios and Sex Allocation
Both parents brood the nestlings.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young birds are provisioned primarily with insects, supplemented with berries and, occasionally, lizards (Anolis) (3).
Fecal sacs are removed, by both parents, from older nestlings (> 5 d), but not from younger nestlings (3).
Brood Parasitism by Other Species
Identity of Parasitic Species
Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) is a known brood parasite of the Bahama Oriole, especially in developed areas.
Frequency of Occurence
As many as 75% of nests in developed areas are parasitized, often resulting in no oriole young fledged for a given nesting attempt. In contrast, nests in pine forests have little to no cowbird parasitism (KEO).
Departure from the Nest
The young fledge after 12–14 d (3).