Bullock’s Oriole

Look For

Adult male is bright orange below with an orange face, black throat and crown, and black eye line. The similar hooded oriole has an orange crown and nape. The Bullock’s huge white wing patch (on the coverts) stands out on black wings and is obvious in flight, as is the black-tipped tail of the male. Bullock’s orioles are usually 8 ¼ to 8 ½ inches in length. Female is pale orange on the head and gray below, with a gray back and subtle white wing bars.

Listen For

The Bullock’s oriole’s song is a series of paired notes—some musical, some harsh: cha-chacha-toowee-trickatrickatricka-reeet! Their call is a long scolding chatter: ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch. Males are very vocal on breeding territory.

Find It

Common in summer in deciduous woods, especially in cottonwoods along streams, where Bullock’s orioles sometimes form loose nesting colonies. Bullock’s orioles winter in western Mexico.

Feeding Behavior

In the summer, the Bullock’s oriole’s diet consists of mostly arthropods and ripe fruit. Besides foraging in tree canopies for butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles, and stinkbugs, this oriole will often drink nectar and feed from hummingbird feeders.

Nesting Behavior

Bullock’s orioles start nesting one to two weeks after arrival on chosen breeding grounds and the female chooses the nest site. You will find their nests in isolated trees along watercourses and in city parks. Nests are typically made up of neatly woven horsehair, twine, fibers, wool, and grasses. Normally, clutch size is four to five eggs per brood. Females incubate for 11 days and then young fledge about two weeks after hatching. The family stays together for several days then the young relocate by themselves or in groups of up to 100 birds.

Wow!

A group of ornithologists lumped together the Bullock’s oriole and the Baltimore oriole into a single species: northern oriole. Then some other ornithologists split them into two species again. Stay tuned!

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