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12 Birds That Look Like Orioles (With Pictures)

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Orchard oriole

Orioles are gorgeous birds that need no mimics. However, that doesn’t stop other birds from looking like them. Why is this the case? It could be because orioles are perfectly shaded for nature. Another reason some birds might look like orioles is that they are closely related in some way. Regardless, some birds just can’t help but have the same build, coloring, and/or personality as the oriole, but they all deserve recognition. Here are 12 birds that look like orioles.

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The 12 Birds That Look Most Like Orioles

1. Golden-Cheeked Warbler

Golden-Cheeked Warbler perched on a tree
Image Credit: Michael Armentrout, Shutterstock

As their name suggests, the golden-cheeked warbler has bright yellow or orange cheeks that look “golden.” Their bodies are typically dark in color, encompassed by black and gray feathers. White feathers somethings adorn their undersides. Although their colors are opposite to that of an oriole, many people tend to confuse the two birds.

2. Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Yellow-Headed Blackbird
Image Credit: Kenneth Rush, Shutterstock

Many people mistake these birds for orioles due to their brightly colored heads. Yellow-headed blackbirds tend to live near ponds and marshes where they can easily find food. They are most active during the spring months, which is when they are commonly seen by birdwatchers, hikers, and other passersby.

3. Black-Headed Grosbeak

black-headed grosbeak eating
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay

This is an interesting songbird that lives predominantly in the United States and some parts of Canada. With an orange underside and a black top, the black-headed grosbeak looks much like the oriole. However, there are a few differences that can be spotted upon close inspection. For instance, the black-headed grosbeak has small white marks that adorn the black feathers on their wings, while the oriole has white stripes.

4. Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak
Image Credit: AlainAudet, Pixabay

Although these birds are yellow and black and their heads are lighter in color than those of orioles, they are sometimes mistaken for orioles because they have similar markings. Evening grosbeaks have large white patches on their wings and yellow markings between the eyes. These birds are quite active and curious, so they are easy to spot in forests and parks throughout the United States.

5. Barn Swallow

barn swallow perched
Image Credit: Elsemargriet, Pixabay

Barn swallows are actually dark blue and orange, but their markings look similar enough to orioles that the two breeds sometimes get mixed up. These birds are known for spending time near fields and barnyards, where they hunt for insects and small animal prey. They are easy to attract to backyards with mud (so they can easily make nests) and an open feeder full of oyster shells.

6. American Goldfinch

american goldfinch
Image Credit: Miles Moody, Pixabay

The American goldfinch is small yet bright, so they are hard to miss when they are hanging out in yards and parks. Their black wings have white stripes, and the rest of their bodies are greenish-yellow. They have small orange beaks and stout legs. They will eat just about anything, including seeds, berries, and insects, which makes them easy for homeowners to attract.

7. American Redstart

american redstart perched
Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay

This bird breed is a member of the warbler family and is only about 5 inches long by the time that they are adults. They are most active during the spring and fall months, which is when people in places like Florida and Texas can spot them flying about. These birds have similar markings and colorings to those of orioles, but they are darker overall.

8. American Robin

American Robin
Image Credit: Petr Ganaj, Pexels

These birds can be found living almost everywhere throughout North America. They are similar in size to orioles, and they also have the same orange chests. When winter starts to develop, American robins tend to migrate to Mexico and northern parts of South America. However, the feathers on their backs and wings are gray instead of black.

9. Varied Thrush

varied thrush perched
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay

Most prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, varied thrush birds are known for their unique songs and outgoing personalities. They like to live where ferns, shrubs, and ponds are prominent. These birds are more colorful than orioles, but their markings are similar, which is what can confuse novice birdwatchers.

10. Eastern Towhee

eastern towheen eating
Image Credit: milesmoody, Pixabay

Eastern towhees are adorned with small crests, which is something that orioles do not have. However, both birds are dark on top and lighter on the bottom. Instead of orange sides like the oriole, though, the eastern towhee has light brown sides that can look orange in the sun. The belly is usually white, and the tail feathers are black with white markings.

11. Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee perched
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay

Spotted towhees are elegant-looking birds that have red sides, white bellies, and black tops, similar to the eastern towhee and the oriole. What’s unique about this breed is that they have small white dots on their wing feathers. These birds hop on the ground to scratch leaves and twigs while looking for sources of food.

12. Blackburnian Warbler

blackburnian warbler
Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay

It can be easy to see why some people might mistake the blackburnian warbler for the oriole, due to their dark tops and light-colored bottoms. These vibrant birds are noisy, and they share high-pitched songs with any being that is close enough to hear. Most of the time, they are hard to spot unless they are flying overhead, as they like to hide in the canopies of trees.

Related Read: 16 Birds That Look Like Cardinals (With Pictures)


All birds are different, so just because one bird looks like an oriole does not mean that they act and behave like it. The birds on this list are all unique in their own ways and deserve attention and praise for those unique qualities.

Featured Image Credit: JeffCaverly, Shutterstock

About the Author Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Since 2000, Rachael has been a freelance writer, and has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens, so it's no surprise that animals happen to be her favorite topic to write about!