Bahama Oriole Icterus northropi
Version: 2.0 — Published July 16, 2020
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Icterus northropi Allen 1890 [type locality = Andros Island, Bahamas] (10).
Icterus northropi, Icterus melanopsis (Cuban Oriole), Icterus portoricensis (Puerto Rican Oriole), and Icterus dominicensis (Hispaniolan Oriole) were originally described as separate species. Bond (11) united all of these, except for northropi, as a single polytypic species, Icterus dominicensis. Later, Bond (12) included northropi and two additional mainland taxa, prosthemelas and praecox (Black-cowled Oriole), in dominicensis as well. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data, however, have demonstrated that this expansive concept of Icterus dominicensis is polyphyletic (13, 14, 15), and songs also differ among these taxa (6). Therefore northropi, melanopsis, portoricensis, dominicensis, and prosthemelas (including praecox) were once again recognized as distinct species (16, 17). Icterus northropi and I. melanopsis are sister taxa and are a species-poor lineage compared to a clade that includes Icterus bonana (Martinique Oriole), Icterus laudabilis (St. Lucia Oriole), Icterus oberi (Montserrat Oriole), Icterus dominicensis (Hispaniolan Oriole), Icterus cayanensis (Epaulet Oriole), and Icterus pyrrhopterus (Variable Oriole) (13, 14, 15).
Fossils found on Abaco date to the late Pleistocene, indicating that this species has been present in the Bahamas for over 11,000 yr (19).