- 7.1–7.9 in
- 0.8 oz
- Larger than a House Finch, smaller than a Western Kingbird.
- Oriole masqué (French)
- Bolsero cuculado, Bolsero encapuchado, Calandria zapotera, Jaranjero (Spanish)
- Hooded Oriole song is a chattering mix of notes and cries that sometimes includes a few notes from their neighbors. In Arizona, they mimic Gila Woodpeckers and Ash-throated Flycatchers.
- Hooded Orioles in California earned the nickname “palm-leaf oriole” because of their tendency to build nests in palm trees. When the nest is suspended from palm leaves, the female pokes holes in the leaf from below and pushes the fibers through, effectively sewing the nest to the leaf.
- A few Hooded Orioles in southern California and Arizona hang around neighborhoods all winter long, taking advantage of free food at hummingbird feeders instead of migrating south.
- Orioles are members of the blackbird family (Icteridae), along with meadowlarks and cowbirds. Birds in this family all have super strong, long, and pointed bills. They use these bills to get at food other birds can’t reach, such as prying apart thick patches of grass, opening up flowers, enlarging holes in tree bark, and digging into ripe fruits for their juice.
- Hooded Orioles expanded their range northward after people planted more ornamental palm trees around their homes and suburban areas. By 2017, Hooded Orioles were using parks and suburban yards as far north as Arcata, California.
- Don't be fooled by color, Hooded Orioles in Texas and eastern Mexico are flame orange, but those in the southwestern United States and western Mexico are bright yellow.
- The oldest recorded Hooded Oriole was a male, and at least 6 years old when he was found in California in 1972, the same state where he had been banded in 1967.
Hooded 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.
Hooded 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.
- Clutch Size
- 3–7 eggs
- Number of Broods
- 1-2 broods
- Egg Length
- 0.8–1 in
- Egg Width
- 0.6–0.7 in
- Incubation Period
- 12–14 days
- Nestling Period
- 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.
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.
The female stiches a hanging nest to the undersides of palm, sycamore, or eucalyptus leaves about 20 feet above the ground.
Hooded 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.
Hooded Oriole populations remained stable between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 700,000, with 51% breeding in the U.S., and 98% spending at least part of the year in Mexico. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Hooded Oriole is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. 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 an oriole’s nest. The new parents unwittingly care for cowbird young and Hooded Oriole young rarely survive.
- Pleasants, B.Y. and D. J. Albano. 2001. Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus), The Birds of North America (P.G. Rodewald, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.
- Dunne, P. 2006. Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York.
- Elphick, C, J. B. Dunning, Jr., D. A. Sibley, eds. 2001. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York.
- Jaramillo, A., and P. Burke. 1999. New World Blackbirds: The Icterids. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
- Karlson, K.T., and D. Rosselet. 2015. Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2016. The State of North
America’s Birds 2016. Environment and Climate Change Canada: Ottawa, Ontario.
- Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database.
- Sauer, J.R., J.E. Hines, J.E. Fallon, K.L. Pardieck, D.J. Ziolkowski, Jr., and W.A. Link. 2016. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015, Version 01.30.2015. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2016. Longevity records of North American Birds.