Like other island species, the Martinique oriole is a habitat generalist, inhabiting semi-arid hills, mangroves, dry forests on limestone soil, humid forests, forest edge, dense scrub, and agricultural areas such as plantations. Though its habitat is generalized, the Martinique oriole seems to prefer certain areas. It is not found in the cloud forests. It has been suggested that the dry forests and mangroves are the most important to the species. The bird is most frequently found in the semi-arid hills located in the southern parts of the island and to a lesser extent in the northern central part of the island. It is found from sea level up to approximately 700m. ("Martinique", 2016; Bond, 1993; Fraga, 2016; Garrido, et al., 2005; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Orians, 1985; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
The Martinique oriole is described as being a small and slim bird that boasts a distinctive plumage along with a beak that is long, conical, very sharp, and slightly curved. The beak’s coloration ranges from dark gray to black with a small light blue triangular shape at the mandible base. The bird’s size has a range of 18-21 cm. The head, neck, and upperbreast are of a dark chestnut/ mahogany color which is quite unique among orioles. This coloration does not continue to the rest of the bird, instead giving way to the black color on its back, tail, and most of the wings. The lower belly, shoulder, and rump are of a caramel/ reddish-orange color. As with most tropical orioles, the coloration of the female is very much like the male’s but slightly duller. The males and females of the species have an average winglength of 84.95 and 77.7 mm, respectively. The tail for the males and females has a length on average 87.4 and 82.8mm, respectively. The immature Martinique oriole has a chestnut color throughout the underparts, with a deeper hue of chestnut on the breast. Its upper section of the rump is tawny, the lower, deep chestnut and the head is of a dark brown, almost mahogany color. The immature plumage changes into that of the adult through a complete moult that occurs in October after the breeding season. However, there is no evidence for pre-breeding moult. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011; Bond, 1993; Fraga, 2016; Garrido, et al., 2005; Hofmann, et al., 2008; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Orians, 1985; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
Martinique orioles are thought to be socially monogamous. Nesting occurs at the forest edge in all forest types excluding cloud forests and rainforests. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011; "Martinique", 2016; Bond, 1993; Fraga, 2016; Garrido, et al., 2005; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Orians, 1985; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
The nests of the Caribbean orioles tend to be very similar in structure and building materials, and the nest of the Martinique oriole is no different, especially when compared to the St. Lucia oriole. Its nest is pendulum-like in structure and usually strongly woven with fibers from coconut palm. However, the nest is shallow when compared to the nests of many mainland orioles with an entrance to the side. The nest is often attached at two points and suspended from the underside of large leaves, including palm fronds and similar large leaves, 2 to 4 m above ground, with the occasional height of 10 m being also recorded. The Martinique oriole is known to be particular in choosing a tree for nesting. The trees of choice are usually the banana, palms, and other large-leafed species. In agricultural and moist forest areas, the baliser, breadfruit and banana trees are preferred nesting trees; the trumpet wood is preferred in moist and rainforest areas; and the raisinier is generally the nesting tree of choice in the dry forest area. Like other Lesser Antillean orioles, the Martinique oriole generally lays 2 to 3 eggs. The eggs are described as being cream or white in color with a pale blue wash and brownish spotting that is restricted to the wide end and being lighted spotted overall. Incubation generally lasts for fourteen to eighteen days and the nestling period lasts roughly fifteen days. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011; "Martinique", 2016; Bond, 1993; Fraga, 2016; Garrido, et al., 2005; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Odom, et al., 2015; Orians, 1985; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
Both sexes defend the nest and feed the nestlings. The nestlings were fed butterflies, caterpillars, small grasshoppers, and other insects almost exclusively. (Fraga, 2016; Garrido, et al., 2005; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
There is no information on the longevity of this species.
There is little collected information on the Martinique oriole, but there is agreement that the species is not of the more sociable orioles and is usually found by itself or in pairs. Although the territory is defended, there is minimal defense from the adults as there is only concern about the nest’s immediate location. The nest is defended against the Carib grackle (Quiscalus lugubris) and the shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis). The song of the Martinique oriole itself is infrequent. During the breeding season, the Martinique oriole does sing but not as frequently or vigorously. The song of the Martinique oriole is described as being inharmonious and shrill. Its shrill song may sound similar to that of the Carib grackle or the Mexican Black-cowled oriole (Icterus prosthemelas). The call is a harsh or scolding cheeo which may be doubled as cheeo-cheeo. The song consists of soft warbles or a series of clear whistles which are of quiet and unobtrusive. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011; Arlott, 2010; Bond, 1993; Fraga, 2016; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
There is no information collected on the size of the home range. It is not known whether the species is territorial year-round.
It is unknown if there is duetting as well as the number of songs or calls that the species may have. Whereas most tropical orioles have female song, it is unknown whether or not female Martinique orioles sing. There is no evidence that they duet, but detailed observations are needed to specifically address whether or not females sing and or overlap or coordinate songs with males to produce duets. (Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Odom, et al., 2015)
Fruits and nectar are typical components of the diet of most orioles. The Martinique oriole is described as foraging primarily in forest canopy. The diet is made up primarily of insects, supplemented with wild and cultivated fruits such as malabar almond and berries. Arthropods are gleaned from green foliage, dry leaves, spider webs, and vine tangles. Prey is also found by removing loose pieces of bark and by probing into hollow twigs. ("Martinique", 2016; Arlott, 2010; Fraga, 2016; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Orians, 1985; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003; del Hoyo, et al., 2011)
Martinique orioles are an elusive species and this impedes the definite ecosystem role from being defined. Although the species has a wide habitat range, it is apparently not common in cultivated areas. This may lower the possibility of that Martinique orioles control agricultural pests. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011)
The Martinique oriole is an island endemic that is described as shy. This elusive behavior only adds to its appeal to avid bird-watchers, thus boosting the island’s ecotourism. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011)
There are no adverse impacts of Martinique orioles on humans.
The Martinique oriole is listed as "vulnerable" by IUCN; thus it is considered "threatened" but not enough to be considered "endangered." The population is estimated to include at least several thousand individuals but it seems to have significantly declined in recent years. Detailed census information is needed. This decline is believed to be due to brood parasitism by the shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis). The Carib grackle (Quiscalus lugubris) may also negatively affect population numbers. The species’ population does not seem to be dramatically affected by habitat loss and illegal hunting. ("Carouge: Oriole de la Martinique", 2011; "Martinique", 2016; Jamarillo and Burke, 1999; Raffaelle, et al., 1998; Raffaelle, et al., 2003)
Whitney Phipps (author), University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Kevin Omland (editor), University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
parental care is carried out by females
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
parental care is carried out by males
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats nectar from flowers
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
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Orians, G. 1985. Blackbirds of the Americas. Tokyo,Japan: Toppan Printing Company.
Raffaelle, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, J. Raffaele. 2003. Princeton Field Guides: Birds of the West Indies. 41 William Street, Princeton, NJ 08540: Princeton University Press.
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