Bullock's Oriole

(Icterus bullockii)

Bullock's Oriole is a bird of open woodlands in the American West, from the Great Plains to the Pacific coast. From Texas and North Mexico to southern Canada.

This bird is especially fond of tall trees along rivers and streams.

This bird was named after William Bullock, an English amateur naturalist.

You can attract them to your yard with cut oranges and nectar feeders.


Bullock's Orioles are bright, flashy birds in all plumages. Mature males are deep orange, with black wings, back, and tail tips, and white wing-patches.

They have black caps, black lines through each eye, and black throat patches. Adults have a pointed bill.

Male Bullock's Oriole

Females and first-year males are yellow where mature males are orange, but are whitish underneath. They lack the large white wing-patches, but do have two white wing-bars on each side.

First-year males can be distinguished from females by their black throats and eye-lines.


The typical breeding habitat of Bullock's Orioles is forested stream side. They primarily inhabit hardwood trees and can often be found in large cottonwoods, willows, and oaks.

Freshwater wetlands, irrigated farms, orchards, shrub-steppe, suburban areas, and other edge habitats are also used if there are suitable trees for nesting.

During migration, Bullock's Orioles can be found in a wide variety of open woodlands, including urban parks. Their winter habitat requirements are not well known, but appear similar to that of breeding season.


While Bullock's may form small flocks during migration and winter, they generally forage alone. They forage mainly in the tree canopy, where they glean food from the foliage and occasionally fly out to catch aerial prey. They also forage in open country and sometimes on the ground, especially later in the breeding season.


Bullock's Orioles eat a diet of small invertebrates (including many caterpillars), ripe fruit (especially cherries), and some nectar.

They will attend feeders for oranges and other fruit, as well as nectar.


This Oriole is monogamous and nest solitarily, although nests are often grouped together, which may be more a factor of patchy breeding habitat than colonialism. Pair bonds typically last for a single breeding season. The nest is often located in a willow, cottonwood, or other hardwood tree, and is a pendulous basket suspended from a thin branch that commonly hangs over water.

The female picks the nest site and weaves the nest, but the male may help with construction. The nest often appears gray, and is made of hair, twine, grass, and wool, lined with plant-down, hair, or feathers.

Male Bullock's Oriole

The female typically incubates 4 to 5 eggs for about 11 days and then broods the young after they hatch. Both parents bring food to the young, which leave the nest after about 14 days. Family groups typically stay together after the young fledge, and may join with other families in post-breeding flocks.

They hybridize with Baltimore Orioles where the boundaries cross.

This caused some confusion among the experts and for a time both species were renamed as one species of bird, the Northern Oriole. Since that time, both species have returned to their original names.

Migration Status:

Bullock's Orioles are Neotropical migrants and travel at night between their breeding and wintering grounds. Birds begin to arrive on the breeding grounds between March and May, and leave for the winter between July and August.

Virtually the entire population winters in western Mexico.

Baltimore Orioles

Orchard Orioles

Bullock's Oriole and Other Backyard Birds

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