The Black-cowled Oriole, scientifically known as Icterus prosthemelas, also goes by various names such as Bolsero capuchinegro, Oriole monacal, and Gelbschultertrupial. The German name for this bird, ‘yellow-shouldered oriole’, seems to be quite fitting. This species is predominantly found in the lowlands of the Caribbean, and when it makes an appearance in my San Antonio garden, it is almost at the edge of its range, both in terms of distance from the Caribbean coast and elevation.
I have a feeling that this particular species has made its home in San Antonio, but it’s not a common sight here. However, John and Milena have had more luck spotting this beautiful creature at their location near Santa Rosa, and John was able to capture some amazing photographs.
One beautiful bird that catches the eye is the Black-cowled Oriole, as captured in this stunning photograph by John Beer. The distinctive black hood and bright yellow body make it easy to spot amongst the trees. It’s always a treat to come across such an exotic and colorful creature in the wild.
This particular type of bird can be found in southern Mexico to western Panama, including the Bahamas and the Antilles. In Costa Rica, it is commonly found in the Caribbean lowlands. Interestingly, in the Americas, the level of sexual dimorphism in resident oriole species tends to increase as you move further north. This means that adult male and female Black-cowled Orioles in Costa Rica, which are located towards the southern end of their geographic range, often look the same. However, their counterparts in southern Mexico can be easily distinguished by their sex, with females resembling immature birds. Lastly, a picture below portrays an adult Black-cowled Oriole appearing discontent with its outdoor surroundings.
Can I come in? The Turrialba area only has one type of oriole species that stays year-round, and it’s called the Black-cowled Oriole. However, there’s another yellow-and-black colored species called the Yellow-tailed Oriole that resides in the Caribbean Coast and lowlands, but only up to 300 meters. Unfortunately, this species is now rare due to being hunted for the cage-bird trade as its song is beautiful.
Our last image from Santa Rosa features a fully grown Black-cowled Oriole firmly grasping a güitite berry.
John Beer captured a stunning photo of a Black-cowled Oriole perched alongside a güitite. The image showcases the bird’s striking appearance and provides a glimpse into its natural habitat.