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Bullock's Oriole - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by bobsofpa.
Location: Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park, San Antoni, New Mexico.USA
Icterus bullockii


19–23 cm (7½-9 in)

  • Deep orange
  • Black wings, back, and tail tips
  • White wing patches
  • Black cap
  • Black line through the eye
  • Black throat patches
Photo © by ducbucln
Kelseyville, California, May 2014


  • Grey-brown upper parts
  • Yellow throat and breast
  • Whitish underneath
  • Two white wing bars

First-year male: black throat and eye-line


Breeds from southern British Columbia, southern Saskatchewan, Montana, and southwestern North Dakota south to western Texas and northern Mexico. Winters in Mexico south to Costa Rica. Accidental vagrant in the eastern United States and Venezuela.


Juvenile male
Photo © by digishooter
Wofford Heights, Kern County, California, USA, August 2008

The Bullock's Oriole was once combined with the eastern counterpart Baltimore Oriole as a single species, the Northern Oriole, because they began to interbreed on the Great Plains, when the two forms extended their ranges and met. This is in spite of these two forms not being each others closest relatives.


Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • I. b. bullockii:
  • I. b. parvus:


Riparian, creek willow and cottonwood, scrub and cactus, Chaparral, mixed oak and pine woodlands.



Young male
Photo © by ducbucln
Kelseyville, California, June 2017

The diet includes insects, berries and nectar. They will visit feeders and love grape jelly.


The nest, located in a tree, is a pendulous basket, made from hair, twine, grass, and wool, lined with plant-down, hair, or feathers and suspended from a thin branch, overhanging over water. The 4 to 5 eggs are incubated by the female for about 11 days; the young fledge about 14 days later.

The male will tend to the young after they leave the nest. The female, when the conditions are conducive for it, will establish a second brood. This is an evolutionary adaptation that ensures, through greater numbers, that the probability of survival of the species is ensured.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birdweb
  3. BirdForum Member observations
  4. Birdforum thread discussing the Taxonomy of New World Orioles
  5. Birdforum thread discussing the hybridization in "Northern Orioles"

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