|Conservation status||Numbers probably stable in most areas. Has expanded breeding range into western Colorado since 1970s.|
|Family||Blackbirds and Orioles|
|Habitat||Dry woods and scrub in desert mountains, yuccas, Joshua-trees, pinyons. Breeds in semi-arid zones of Southwest in oak zones of lower canyons, open woods of juniper and pinyon pine, stands of Joshua-trees, grassland with many yuccas, palm oases. Avoids true desert.|
Forages rather slowly and quietly in treetops, clambering along branches as it searches for insects. Regularly visits flowers, probing deeply in the blossoms for nectar.
2-4, usually 3. Pale bluish white, with dots and lines of brown, gray, and black concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 1 or 2 broods per year.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 1 or 2 broods per year.
Mostly insects, some berries and nectar. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and many others. Also eats berries and fruit, including cactus fruit; may feed on cultivated fruit at times. Also feeds on nectar, and will take sugar-water from feeders.
Males arrive on breeding grounds a few days before females, and sing frequently to establish nesting territory. Nest: Often placed in yucca, or in Joshua-tree (which is a tall, branched type of yucca). Also may be in palm or in tree such as sycamore, oak, or pine. Usually 4-20' above ground. Nest in tree may be hidden in clump of mistletoe. Nest (probably built by female) is a hanging basket, suspended by its edges, not as deep as the nests of some orioles; woven of grasses, yucca fibers, other plant fibers, lined with fine grass, hair, and plant down.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates rather early in both spring and fall, arriving on nesting grounds in March or April, mostly departing in July and August. Small numbers winter in southern Arizona and California.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsThe song, a series of rising and falling flute-like notes, resembles that of a Western Meadowlark. Call is a harsh chuck.
Learn more about this sound collection.