Hooded orioles (Icterus cucullatus), lithely built midsize birds, are inhabitants of North America, sometimes seen as far south as the Central American nation of Belize. Numbers of these migratory birds are strong and on the rise. Hooded orioles are extremely companionable in nature, sometimes even congregating with other species of orioles.
Hooded Oriole Basics
Mature hooded orioles, regardless of sex, usually are around 7 to 8 inches in length. Male and female hooded orioles are easy to tell apart, however. The males are mostly yellowish-orange or orange, while the females are more of a yellowish-green. The males also have conspicuous black coloration on their faces and over their necks. Dietwise, hooded orioles consume an assortment of bugs, nectar and fruit. Insects are their dining preference. Their pointy beaks enable them to handily retrieve nectar by cutting into flower foundations. They also regularly eat arthropods -- think spiders.
The reproductive grounds for the species include western portions of Texas, Nevada and the heart of California. They migrate south for the colder wintertime, opting for milder destinations such as Mexico and southern areas of both California and Texas. Mexico is a particularly common wintering spot for hooded orioles.
Migration Time Frame
Hooded orioles get to their breeding locations in March. In rare cases, some touch down as early as the end of February. Their reproductive season each year generally starts somewhere between the beginning of April and the beginning of May. Their clutches usually include between three and five eggs. The mothers handle incubation all by themselves, without assistance from the fathers. Despite that, the fathers do help rear the youngsters after they're born. Once the breeding season ends, hooded orioles promptly leave these areas -- generally sometime in August. Some of them wait a little longer to migrate, occasionally doing so around the closing of September in the early autumn.
When hooded orioles breed, they usually gravitate toward landscapes that feature trees, but in a dispersed manner. They are frequent sighted alongside brooks and amid the rare greenery of deserts. Hooded orioles are drawn to environments with palm trees. They frequently nest in palm trees as well as in eucalyptus trees, pecan trees and cottonwood trees, among numerous others. Airy forested environments, scrublands, residential suburbs and cities all make typical homes for the species.
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds: Hooded Oriole
- National Audubon Society Birds: Hooded Oriole
- National Geographic: Hooded Oriole
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Icterus cucullatus
- NatureWorks: Hooded Oriole
- The Texas Breeding Bird Atlas: Hooded Oriole
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Icterus cucullatus
- San Diego County Plant Atlas: Hooded Oriole
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images