At a Glance

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.
Category
Blackbirds and Orioles, Perching Birds
Conservation
Low Concern
Habitat
Forests and Woodlands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Urban and Suburban Habitats
Region
California, Florida, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas
Behavior
Direct Flight
Population
7.400.000

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

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

Description

7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm). Male resembles male Baltimore Oriole but has orange face, more white in wing, different tail pattern. Female usually not as orange as female Baltimore, with grayer back, whiter belly, darker eyeline, but some not safely identified.
Size
About the size of a Sparrow, About the size of a Robin
Color
Black, Brown, Orange, White
Wing Shape
Rounded
Tail Shape
Rounded, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

Clear and flute-like whistled single or double notes in short, distinct phrases with much individual variation. Also a rapid chatter.
Call Pattern
Falling
Call Type
Chatter, Chirp/Chip, Whistle

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.

Behavior

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.

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.

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.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Still widespread and common, with only slight declines noted in recent decades.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Bullock's Oriole. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Bullock's Oriole

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.

Explore More