Adult male upperparts are black, with dark chestnut shoulders, rump, and outer tail feathers. Underparts are dark chestnut, with a black throat and upper breast. Female is olive green above, with two white wing bars; underparts are yellowish. First-year males resemble females but have a black throat and black near the bill. The bubbly song is a sweet, variable musical warble, sweeter and more lyrical than a catbird’s, more delicate and less repetitive than a robin’s; it often contains short chatters, chuckles, or rolls, and usually, there’s an up- or down-slurred whistle near the ends of phrases. The call is a chuck.
Similar species: At a glance, male orchard orioles look something like American robins or eastern towhees, but comparing a few pictures of these, noting especially the body and bill shapes, sorts them out. Orioles have narrow, sharp-pointed bills, much like those of their cousins, the meadowlarks and blackbirds. Compared to our other orioles, the deep chestnut-and-black coloration makes male orchard orioles easy to distinguish. Note that female orchard orioles are greenish yellow, while female Baltimore orioles are more orangish. Many birds are greenish yellow — several warblers, vireos, female and late-summer/nonbreeding male tanagers, and American goldfinches, for example — use size and body and bill shapes to tell them apart.