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 Bullock's OrioleBullock’s Oriole

Identification and Pictures 

(Classification: Icterus bullockii)

Bullock’s OrioleBullock's orioles are 7 to 8 1/2 inches, with a pointed bill, and a long tail.  The male is a striking bird, with bright yellow or orange, and black plumage.  The head has a black crown, there is a black line through the eye, the throat, back, and the wings are black, with white wing bars.  Their legs and feet are gray.  The females, and young are olive-gray to yellow above with yellow on the throat, and tail, and the belly is paler.  The wings are brown or grayish with 2 wing bars.  Young males look like the female, but have a black throat, and a black line through the eye.  

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I used is the Canon EOS 40D and a 70 to 300 zoom lens.Bullock's oriole female

Baltimore oriole's colors are a little different, having more black than Bullock's oriole.

Orchard orioles, another similar bird, looks more like the Baltimore oriole but has darker under parts.

The Spot breasted Oriole looks like the Baltimore except for an orange head, a black bib and spots on the sides of the breast.

The Baltimore, and Bullock's oriole were once considered to be one species, the Northern oriole.  There are various hybrid oriels where their ranges overlap.

Download an Oriole puzzle

Song and Sound 

The song is a series of whistled notes and rattles.  Their call is a chatter with a low chirp.  Both male, and female sing similar songs but her song has a harsher ending.

Listen to Sound

Habitat and Range
Their summer range is western U.S. and Canada, and they migrate to Mexico, and Central America for winter.  They can be found in open woods, trees along streams and rivers, and residential areas.

Nesting and Breeding

Bullock's oriole nestDuring courting the male will rise up then bow repeatedly to the female with his wings and tail raised.

The nest is a pouch hung from a branch, made with grass, hair, twine, and wool, and lined with feathers, and cotton from cottonwood or willow trees.

The female will lay 3 to 6 blue or grayish white eggs, scrolled with purple or brownish lines.  She will incubate the eggs for about 2 weeks, and the young birds will fledge in 2 more weeks.  The young are fed by both parents.

Food and Feeding

Natural foods are insects such as caterpillars, and ants, spiders, blossoms, fruit, berries, and nectar.  Orioles forage in trees, and shrubs.  They can be attracted to bird feeders with fruit, jellies, peanut butter, or suet.  Orange slices are a favorite, and they will also visit hummingbird feeders.

Like other backyard birds, Orioles love water.  A good supply of food and a fresh, clean, birdbath, will keep Bullocks' oriole coming back.

For more on Food and Feeding click here

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