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Hooded Oriole

From Opus

Adult Western malePhoto by Marysan at Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego, California, May 2005
Adult Western male
Photo by Marysan
at Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego, California, May 2005
Icterus cucullatus


[edit] Identification

18-20 cm (7-8 in),

  • Long graduated tail
  • Long, thin, downward curved bill

Breeding male

  • Orange-yellow head and nape
  • Black back, face, throat, and upper breast
  • Black wings have two white bars
  • Black tail


  • Olive-grey upperparts
  • Yellow-green underparts, mostly with grey flanks
  • Upper wing bar stronger than lower
Adult female, before releasePhoto by HelenBAt a banding station, Concan, Texas Hill Country, April 2005
Adult female, before release
Photo by HelenB
At a banding station, Concan, Texas Hill Country, April 2005

Juvenile: similar to female; male may show black on throat

[edit] Geographic variation

Western birds are generally shorter tailed, and males have less orange on heads and body. Flank color in females varies but not necessarily with an east-west division.

[edit] Similar Species

On males notice the black facial mask goes down perpedicular to the line from eye to upper bill, so that the black area constitutes a square. Similar, black-faced, species have an angle smaller than 90 deg.

Females can be quite similar to female Orchard Oriole, which is smaller, have square tail, shorter stouter bill with almost straight culmen, usually brighter green on upperside and brighter, more evenly colored underside including the flanks.

[edit] Distribution

Yucatan MalePhoto by stephennjCancun, Mexico, June 2004
Yucatan Male
Photo by stephennj
Cancun, Mexico, June 2004

Breeds from central California, Nevada, central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southern Texas southward through Mexico to Belize. Some of the Mexican breeders seems to have bred already in the same summer in the US before migrating to Mexico for their second round of nesting.

A few spend winters in southern California and southern Texas, most of the rest winter in Mexico.

Casual vagrant to Oregon and Washington. Accidental vagrant to Ontario, Quebec, and Louisiana.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Currently, six subspecies are recognized by Clements[1], with several others considered synonyms[2]:
Eastern Group

Eastern Male Photo by bobsofpaRest Area on US 77, Kenedy County, Texas, USA, April 2005
Eastern Male
Photo by bobsofpa
Rest Area on US 77, Kenedy County, Texas, USA, April 2005
  • I. c. sennetti:
  • Southern Texas (lower Rio Grande Valley) to eastern Mexico (Tamaulipas)
  • I. c. cucullatus:
  • South-western Texas (Del Rio) to south-eastern Mexico (Veracruz and Oaxaca)

Western Group

  • I. c. nelsoni:
  • Central California to northern Baja and north-western Mexico (southern Sonora, northern Chihuahua)
  • I. c. trochiloides:
  • I. c. restrictus:
  • North-western Mexico (southern Sonora)
  • I. c. igneus (Yucatan):
  • Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel, Contoy, Holbox and Mujeres Island to Belize

[edit] Habitat

JuvenilePhoto by ducbuclnKelseyville, California, August 2016
Photo by ducbucln
Kelseyville, California, August 2016

Usually found in scrubby or open woods, desert, urban gardens and forests. Observed at heights around 5000 feet.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

They nest in tall trees, often in fan palms, cottonwoods, sycamores, oaks, and eucalyptus. The cup-shaped nest is made by the female and suspended from branches. The 3-5 white, pale yellow or pale blue eggs are incubated for about 12-14 days, by the female.

Their nests in California become parasitized by both the Bronzed Cowbird and Brown-headed Cowbird.

[edit] Diet

Diet includes fruit, nectar, and insects.

[edit] Vocalisation

Described as variable but not necessarily loud or striking.
Song is a rapid, variable warble.
Calls include a dry chatter, chek and tchek sounds, etc.

[edit] Gallery

Click on image to enlarge

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Paper describing migration to second breeding area
  4. shawcreekbirdsupply
  5. BF Member observations
  6. Howell & Webb, 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198540124
  7. Birds of North America Online

[edit] External Links


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