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Hooded Oriole Life History


Open WoodlandsHooded Orioles live in open, dry areas in the Southwest with scattered trees including cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and especially palm trees. They occur farther north than they did in the past as residential and commercial developments began planting more and more palm trees. During the nonbreeding season in Mexico, they also use open areas with scattered trees. Back to top


InsectsHooded Orioles search the undersides of leaves for spiders and insects such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers, larvae, and caterpillars. They also eat fruit and take nectar from flowering plants and hummingbird feeders.Back to top


Nest Placement

TreeThe female stiches a hanging nest to the undersides of palm, sycamore, or eucalyptus leaves about 20 feet above the ground.

Nest Description

Like other orioles, females weave grass and plant fibers together to form a hanging basket. Female Hooded Orioles stitch the nest to the underside of leaves. Females build these elaborate basket nests in 3 to 6 days. Nests are about 4 inches tall.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:3-7 eggs
Number of Broods:1-2 broods
Egg Length:0.8-1.0 in (2-2.5 cm)
Egg Width:0.6-0.7 in (1.4-1.7 cm)
Incubation Period:12-14 days
Egg Description:Whitish to pale blue with dark blotches on the wider end.
Condition at Hatching:Naked with bits of downy feathers on the head and back.
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Foliage GleanerHooded Orioles are methodical and acrobatic foragers that hang, often upside down, from leaves and branches in search of food. They tend to forage at low to middle levels in trees and shrubs. When they fly between trees their flight is strong and quick. Unlike other orioles, they tend to sing partially hidden inside trees and shrubs. Sometimes they flick their tail upward while chattering almost incessantly. Males point their bills to the sky and hold a sleek posture while chattering during territorial disputes with other males. During courtship, males flutter their wings as they move from branch to branch, bowing to the female. Back to top


Low Concern

Hooded Oriole populations remained stable or slightly increased between 1966 and 2019, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 1.7 million and rates them 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, indicating a species of low conservation concern. In some areas, especially where ornamental palms have increased, Hooded Orioles are expanding and moving farther north. But in the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, populations are declining. The main threat to populations in the lower Rio Grande Valley is cowbird nest parasitism. Brown-headed and Bronzed cowbirds parasitize Hooded Orioles by laying their eggs in the oriole’s nest. The new parents unwittingly care for cowbird young and the Hooded Oriole young rarely survive.

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Dunne, P. (2006). Pete Dunne's essential field guide companion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, USA.

Jaramillo, A., and P. Burke (1999). New World Blackbirds: the Icterids. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA.

Karlson, Kevin and D Rosselet. (2015). Birding by Impression. Living Bird 25:34-42.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2020). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2020. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2020.

Partners in Flight. (2020). Avian Conservation Assessment Database, version 2020.

Pleasants, Barbara Y. and Daniel J. Albano. (2001). Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2019). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2019. Version 2.07.2019. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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