IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)


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Yellow-tailed orioles (Icterus mesomelas) are found in Central and South America (Monroe and Sibley 1993). They are found predominantly below 500 m altitude. There are five described subspecies: Icterus mesomelas mesomelas, Icterus mesomelas salvinii, Icterus mesomelas carrikeri, Icterus mesomelas taczanowskii, Icterus mesomelas xantholemus (Clemens 2007).

Icterus m. mesomelas and I. m. salvinii can be found in Central America. Icterus m. mesomelas can be found in the tropical southeast of Mexico, which extends from south Veracruz to the city of Oaxaca; they are also found in Belize and Honduras (Clemens 2007). Icterus m. salvinii is found in the Caribbean lowlands of Nicaragua, east Costa Rica continuing to extreme northwest Panama (Jaramillo and Burke 1999).

The other three subspecies can be found further south along the Pacific lowlands. Icterus m. carrikeri is found from Panama to northwestern Columbia and northwestern Venezuela. In Panama, the range extends along the Pacific slope from the Canal eastward and in the north it extends from the lowlands of Colombia northwards of the Santa Marta Mountains and the Magdalena Valley. Furthermore, the geographic range includes the east of Guajira, North of Santander and extends into the northwest of Venezuela (Jaramillo and Burke 1999). In Venezuela, yellow-tailed orioles are found around the Lake Maracaibo basin, in Zulia, Tachira and Merida (Ridgely and Tudor 2001).

Icterus m. taczanowskii is endemic to the Pacific lowlands of western Ecuador and northwest Peru (Clements 2007). In Peru, the range stretches from Piura in the north (Jaramillo and Burke 1999) to the Pacific Coast to Lambayeque. Their range is separated by the Andes mountain range, unlike the continuous distribution from north to south and then continues into the upper Maranon Valley and further south to La Libertad (Ridgely and Tudor 2001).This is the only part of South America where the range of I. mesomelas is disrupted.

Icterus m. xantholemus is known only from Ecuador. Although some experts indicate that these individuals may represent immature I. mesomelas (Clemens 2007), others propose that it could be a hybrid between two unknown species of Icterus (Sibley and Monroe 1990), others treat it as a valid species (Blake et al. 1968).

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )


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