Leonard and I enjoy watching the Bullock’s orioles (Icterus bullockii) that summer in our yard (Modoc County CA) each year. They usually arrive in very early May and are one of the first birds to migrate south in the fall, usually mid-August. What a pleasure to see one of “our” oriole’s cousins, the hooded oriole, on a recent trip to Green Valley AZ.
The colorful, male hooded oriole (Icterus cucullatus) is bright orange with a black bib and narrow mask. The wings, back and tail are also black. The hooded oriole female is more drab – olive green or dull yellow upper parts and a yellow breast and belly. Both sexes have slightly curved bills.
Hooded orioles breed in the Southwest from California to southern Texas and parts of northern Mexico. The nest is a woven pouch suspended from a tree. Palms are especially favored by hooded orioles. Winters are spent mainly in Mexico.
Living in open areas with scattered trees or in mesquite brush, hooded orioles eat insects (especially caterpillars), spiders, nectar, berries and fruits. Also common in urban and suburban areas, hooded orioles also visit hummingbird feeders. (The Bullock’s orioles love our hummingbird feeders.)
In some areas hooded oriole numbers are dropping because of nest parasitism by cowbirds.
This male hooded oriole is sitting in a paloverde tree.