Photo: Brian E. Small/Vireo

Hooded Oriole

Icterus cucullatus

In the hot lowlands of the Southwest, this slim oriole is often common in the trees along streams and in suburbs. It is especially likely to be seen around palms, frequently attaching its hanging nest to the underside of a palm frond. In yards and gardens it often visits hummingbird feeders to drink the sugar-water. The jumbled, musical song of the male sometimes includes imitations of other birds.
Conservation status Declined sharply in southern Texas in recent decades, perhaps owing to cowbird parasitism. May be making a slight comeback in that area. Still fairly common farther west.
Family Blackbirds and Orioles
Habitat Open woods, shade trees, palms. Breeds in groves of trees (such as cottonwood, walnut, sycamore) along streams and in canyons, and in open woods in lowlands. Often common in suburbs and city parks. Especially favors palm trees, and will nest in isolated groups of palms even in cities.
In the hot lowlands of the Southwest, this slim oriole is often common in the trees along streams and in suburbs. It is especially likely to be seen around palms, frequently attaching its hanging nest to the underside of a palm frond. In yards and gardens it often visits hummingbird feeders to drink the sugar-water. The jumbled, musical song of the male sometimes includes imitations of other birds.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male, Texas
  • adult female, Western
  • immature male, Western
  • adult male, Texas
  • adult male  Western
  • adult female, Western
Feeding Behavior

Forages rather slowly and deliberately in trees and large shrubs, gleaning insects from among foliage or feeding on berries. Regularly probes in flowers for nectar and probably takes insects there as well. A common visitor to hummingbird feeders.


Eggs

4, sometimes 3-5. Whitish, irregularly blotched with brown, lavender, and gray. Incubation is by female, about 12-14 days. Bronzed Cowbirds very frequently lay eggs in nests of this species. Young: Fed by both parents. Leave nest about 14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3.


Young

Fed by both parents. Leave nest about 14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3.

Diet

Includes insects, berries, nectar. Feeds on a variety of insects. May especially favor caterpillars, also eats beetles, wasps, ants, and many others. Feeds on many wild berries, and sometimes on cultivated fruit. Takes nectar from flowers, and will come to feeders to drink sugar-water.


Nesting

In courtship, male moves around female, posturing with deep bows and then pointing bill straight up while singing softly. Female may respond with similar posturing. Nest: Often placed in palm or large yucca, sewn to underside of large overhanging leaf; usually 10-50' above ground, but can be lower. Sometimes placed under banana leaf, in clump of mistletoe or Spanish moss, or suspended from branch of deciduous tree. Nest is a woven hanging pouch of grass and plant fibers, lined with plant down, hair, feathers. Female builds nest, but male may help bring material.

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

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

Migration

Most in our area are migratory, but a few remain through winter, especially where sugar-water feeders are provided. An early migrant in both spring and fall, with many arriving in March and departing in August.

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Migration

Most in our area are migratory, but a few remain through winter, especially where sugar-water feeders are provided. An early migrant in both spring and fall, with many arriving in March and departing in August.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Series of whistles, chatters, and warbles.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
Learn more about this sound collection.

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

Hooded 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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