About The Bullocks Oriole

Considered the Western counterpart of the Baltimore Oriole, Bullocks Oriole is found mostly east of the Rockies. A medium sized songbird, Bullocks Oriole measures in at 17-19 cm (7-8.5 in), with a wingspan of 31 cm (12 in) and a weight of 29-43 grams. Bullocks Oriole has a long tail and a thin, straight, pointed bill.

The male bird has a bright orange head with a black back. Its face is orange as well and has a thin black stripe through the eye. Its dark wing has either one large bar or two small bars. The female on the other hand has a yellowish head and breast and its belly is whitish. Its back, instead of being black is more of a grayish hue, giving it a duller appearance than that of the male. Immature birds are similar to the adult female except that they are usually of a brighter yellow underneath.

The Bullocks Oriole Nesting Preferences

The nest of a Bullocks Oriole is similar to the nest of a Baltimore Oriole. It likes to hang its pouch-shaped nest by its edges. Bullocks Oriole nests are usually found at the tips of tree branches, placed anywhere from 6 to 60 feet above the ground. They prefer isolated trees at the edge of woodlands and parks. They also prefer to nest somewhere near a body of water.

The nest itself is made of various materials woven together. Horse hair, twine, and fiber are commonly used. For the lining, Bullocks Oriole likes to use wool, cottonwood, and feathers.

Building a Birdhouse For The Bullock’s Oriole

To attract Bullocks Orioles to your bird watching site, make sure that you have at least one tree. As they build their nests on the tips of tree branches, birdhouses are not normally used. However, they do love bird feeders. A feeder with dimensions of 8-1/4 x 8-3/4 x 2-1/4 would be suitable for them. You can place orange halves, sugar water, or fruit jelly in the feeder to attract them.

The Bullocks Oriole Mating Habits

Early in the mating season, the male bird arrives in the nesting site a few days before the female. He then establishes his territory while waiting for a partner. The male bird is territorial and will fiercely defend his territory.

When the female arrives the male will do all it can to attract his partner. Calling, preening, and other such behavior occur until a bond forms. Once paired, the birds then proceed to building their nest.

The Bullock’s Oriole Feeding Preferences

Bullock’s Oriole eat mostly insects, caterpillars, and spiders. However, they also forage in trees and flowers for fruits and nectar. These birds will readily visit your feeder for such fare.

Interesting Bullock’s Oriole Facts

  • In the 1800s an ornithologist concluded that the Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole were one and the same and grouped them under one name – the Northern Oriole. More recent studies show that in fact they are two distinct species and they were categorized separately again. However, these two birds hybridize often, especially when they meet at the Great Plains.
  • Male Bullock’s Orioles sing a different song from their female counterparts. The female’s song often sounds harsher but she sings more than the male bird.