Hooded Orioles in San Diego County


Of the twenty-four species of Orioles in the world, ten can be found in the United States. Orioles are medium-sized birds with relatively long bills and long tails. Oriole plumage is usually black with yellow or orange.


The Hooded Oriole is found throughout the southwest US, from Texas to California. The adult male has a black face and throat and a yellow to orange body with black wings. Females are uniformly yellowish in color. In California, the male Hooded Oriole is yellow.

The Texas subspecies tends to be more orange in color.


Hooded Oriole populations have been increasing in southern California. This may be due in part to the widespread use of the Washington Fan Palm in urban landscaping. This fan palm is the favorite nesting tree of the Hooded Oriole in California. Hooded Orioles spend their Summers breeding in California and then winter in Central and South America.

Hooded Orioles sew their nests to the underside of fan palm leaves. Only female orioles build nests. The nests resemble hanging baskets and are usually woven from the palm leaf fibers. The nest will usually be about 4 inches long and be located from 5 to 45 feet above the ground.


Female Hooded Orioles lay 3-5 eggs. Incubation of the eggs is done only by the female and lasts 12-14 days. The babies are fed regurgitated food for the first 4-5 days and whole insects thereafter. The Male and Female take turns with the feeding. 


Both Male and Female take turns with the housekeeping chores by regularly removing fecal sacs.


After about 2 weeks the babies begin to emerge from the nest and will soon fledge.

Although insects comprise a large part of the Hooded Oriole's diet, they will also regularly use sugar water feeders. However, Hooded Orioles seem to be very skittish around feeders and their visits tend to be brief.

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