Photo: Brian E. Small/Vireo

Bullock's Oriole

Icterus bullockii

In the west, this oriole is common in summer in forest edge, farmyards, leafy suburbs, isolated groves, and streamside woods, especially in cottonwood trees. For several years it was considered to belong to the same species as the eastern Baltimore Oriole (with the two combined under the name Northern Oriole), because the two often interbreed where their ranges come in contact on the western Great Plains. The habits of the two are similar.
Conservation status Still widespread and common, with only slight declines noted in recent decades.
Family Blackbirds and Orioles
Habitat Open woods, riverside groves. Breeds in deciduous trees in fairly open habitats, such as forest edge, isolated groves and streamside woods, especially in cottonwood trees. Readily adapts to some suburban neighborhoods if enough trees are present. Winters mostly in the tropics around forest edge and semi-open country.
In the west, this oriole is common in summer in forest edge, farmyards, leafy suburbs, isolated groves, and streamside woods, especially in cottonwood trees. For several years it was considered to belong to the same species as the eastern Baltimore Oriole (with the two combined under the name Northern Oriole), because the two often interbreed where their ranges come in contact on the western Great Plains. The habits of the two are similar.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female
  • adult male
  • immature male (1st yr)
Feeding Behavior

Forages by searching for insects among foliage of trees and shrubs, rarely on the ground. Sometimes flies out to catch insects in midair. Visits flowers for nectar, and will come to sugar-water feeders; also attracted to pieces of fruit put out at feeders.


Eggs

4-5, sometimes 3-7. Bluish white to pale gray, with brown and black markings concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, about 11 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 14 days after hatching.


Young

Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 14 days after hatching.

Diet

Insects, berries, nectar. In summer feeds mostly on insects, especially caterpillars; also eats beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, wasps, bugs, and others, plus spiders. Eats many berries and wild fruits, sometimes cultivated fruit. Feeds on nectar and will take sugar-water.


Nesting

Male sings to defend nesting territory. In courtship, male faces female and stretches upright, with tail spread and wings quivering and partly open. Nest site is in tall deciduous tree, suspended from the tips of slender drooping branches, usually 10-25' above the ground, can be up to 50' high. Nest (built by female, sometimes with help from male) is a hanging pouch, with its rim firmly attached to a branch; tends to be wider and deeper than the nest of Baltimore Oriole. Nest is tightly woven of plant fibers, strips of bark, vine tendrils, grass, yarn, and string, lined with fine grass, plant down, hair.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Migrates in small flocks. Fall migration begins early, with many birds leaving northern breeding areas by the end of July.

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Migration

Migrates in small flocks. Fall migration begins early, with many birds leaving northern breeding areas by the end of July.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Clear and flute-like whistled single or double notes in short, distinct phrases with much individual variation. Also a rapid chatter.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Blackbirds and Orioles Perching Birds

Bullock's Oriole

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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