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Bullock's Oriole

Icterus bullockii

Length: 7 to 8 inches Wingspan: 11 to 12 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Black cap and throat, orange face, prominent white wing patch 

Bullock's Oriole - Icterus bullockiiThis bird was formerly considered to belong to the same species as the more eastern Baltimore Oriole, under the combined name of "Northern Oriole".  The Bullock's Oriole is the "western" species, found in the western half of the continent, while the Baltimore Oriole is found in the East.  Many South Dakota birds are variously intermediate between the two extremes, as the two species interbreed where their ranges come into contact. They were originally named after William Bullock, an English naturalist who helped identify the species.


Areas of forest edge or open forest, such as woodlands, shelter belts, isolated tree groves, or residential areas.


Primarily feeds on insects during the summer months.  Will also eat berries and fruits.


Forages by climbing and flitting through the foliage and branches of trees and shrubs, gleaning insects from vegetation surfaces, as well as flying out to capture nearby insects in mid-air.


June and July in South Dakota.  The nest is a large hanging pouch, built of grasses, weed stems, and other long material that can be woven into the nest structure.  The female usually lays 4 or 5 eggs, and she alone incubates them.  Once the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the nestlings.  The young leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching.


Short series of nasal whistled notes, interspersed with harsher cackling notes. The call is a simple sharp, one-note calll, while they also have a harsher scolding call given when disturbed or threatened.

1Click here to hear the short call notes and whistles of a Bullock's Oriole

2Click here to hear the song of a male Bullock's Oriole


Neotropical migrant.  Summers throughout most of the western United States, summers in Mexico and points south.

Interactive eBird Map:

Click to access an interactive eBird map of Bullock's Oriole sightings

Similar Species:

The most similar species is the Baltimore Oriole. Click here to see a comparison between the two. For basic ID keys between Bullock's Oriole and multiple oriole species, see below:

Bird Feeders:

Will attend feeders for oranges and other fruit, as well as nectar.

Conservation Status:

Bullock's Orioles are found across a wide geographic area, are common in parts of their range, and overall population trends appear to be stable.  The IUCN lists the Bullock's Oriole as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information:

1) BirdWeb - Bullock's Oriole

2) WhatBird - Bullock's Oriole

3) Audubon Guide - Bullock's Oriole

Photo Information:

June 15th, 2018 - Grand County, Utah - Terry Sohl

Audio File Credits

1Richard Webster. Recorded near Portal, Arizona on June 9th, 2015. Original recording and information from xeno-canto.

2Paul Marvin. Recorded in Zapata, Texas on April 10th, 2012. Original recording and information from xeno-canto.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Bullock's Oriole - Species Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon summer resident in the far western part of the state, less common elsewhere in the west.

Additional Bullock's Oriole Photos
Click for a higher-resolution view, or click above for a page devoted to Bullock's Oriole photos

Bullock's Oriole 1 - Icterus bullockiiBullock's Oriole 2 - Icterus bullockii