From 1983 to 1995, Baltimore and Bullock’s orioles were considered one species. What was it called?
b) Black-headed oriole
c) Cleveland oriole
d) American oriole
Answer: a) Northern oriole. Baltimore and Bullock’s orioles hybridize in a narrow zone in the Great Plains where their ranges overlap. Elsewhere, however, Bullock’s and Baltimore don’t interbreed, and genetic testing shows that not only are the two species distinct, they’re not even each other’s closest cousins. The streak-backed oriole of Central America is genetically most similar to the Bullock’s, and the black-backed oriole, a Mexican endemic, is closest to the Baltimore. Read more about orioles in the May/June 2015 issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest »