Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) 8 inches long

Male Hooded Oriole

The male Hooded Oriole is a beautiful orange-yellow with a black patch on his throat, black wings with white bars and a long black tail. The female is more subdued, with greenish gray upper parts and soft yellow underneath. They forage in trees for insects and take nectar from flowers. Their slender bill fits in most hummingbird feeders and they will feed there, but they don't generally become a nuisance. They favor the cottonwood trees found in riparian areas but are also seen in mesquite thickets and desert scrub. The bird in the photo is perched on an ocotillo plant. Look for Hooded Orioles in summer at Patagonia / Sonoita creek, the San Pedro river, and Cave Creek canyon near Portal in the Chiricahua mountains.

Bullock's Oriole, USFWS photo by Dave Menke

Male Bullock's Oriole, photo by Dave Menke, USFWS

Another summer resident is Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii), a bird that is common and widespread in the west, where it favors the edges of forest areas and streamside woodlands such as the cottonwood groves along the San Pedro river. Its diet consists of insects, berries and nectar. It breeds in riparian areas throughout the state. The male is yellow-orange with a black cap and eye stripe; females are gray with yellow head and breast.

Female Bullock's Oriole, photo by Dave Menke

Female Bullock's Oriole, photo by Dave Menke, USFWS

Scott's Orioles may also be seen in southwestern habitats, sometimes nesting in yucca plants and using the long, stringy fibers of the dead yucca leaves as building materials. Scott's Oriole has a black head, throat, breast, upper back and tail with a yellow belly and wing stripe. They also feed on insects and berries and may occasionally come to hummingbird feeders.