Common Name

Scientific Name

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The hooded oriole, Icterus cucullatus, ranges from northern California and southwestern Utah to southern Mexico; northern populations are migratory, with most individuals wintering in Mexico. In Utah, the species is uncommon during summer in the southwestern corner of the state, where it breeds mainly in the wooded riparian areas along the Virgin River and its tributaries. The habitats of the hooded oriole include open woods and areas with shade trees or palms. Its foods include insects, nectar, and fruits. Hooded orioles obtain nectar by slitting the bases of tubular flowers with their bills.

Three to five eggs are laid in a pendant nest, usually twelve to forty-five feet up in a tree, often a tree with large leaves, palms being preferred where available. Incubation, by the female alone, requires twelve to fourteen days. The young are fed by both parents and fledge after another fourteen days. This species is multiple-brooded, with pairs usually producing two or three clutches each summer. It is a common host of two brood parasites, the bronzed cowbird and the brown-headed cowbird.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.