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education: birds of georgia
Bullock's Oriole, Icterus bullocki

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, first year male.
Bullock's Oriole, first year male. Photographed in Smyrna, Cobb County, GA on Dec. 20, 2005.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Status: Accidental winter visitor from western U.S. in Grady 5 Feb 1947 and 22 Nov 1948 (Stoddard, H.), in Thomas 26 Dec 1965 (O 31:25), 29 Mar 1971 (Crawford, R. and Dozier, J.) and 29 Dec 1991 (O 57:31); at feeders in Smyrna (Cobb) 16- 22 Dec 2005, in Dublin (Laurens) 20 Feb 2007 and in a pecan grove in Bulloch 10 Feb 2007. Single male birds that appeared in Laurens and in Bulloch lingered for several weeks and probably spent the entire winter in those locations.

Habitat: In its breeding range in the west, open woodlands, especially riparian woodlands with large cottonwoods, sycamores and willows. In CA, "riparian oak woodlands, especially where trees are large and well-spaced or in isolated clumps. Sycamores, cottonwoods, willows and deciduous oaks seem to be favored for nesting.." (Grinnell and Miller 1944). In GA in winter, seen at feeders and in pecan groves in Coastal Plain where it joins wintering Baltimore Orioles in feeding on pecan meats and sipping at sapsucker holes in pecan trees (according to research by John Parrish, GA Southern Univ and pers. observ.).

Diet: Breeding: mostly insects, especially butterfly and moth larvae and pupae, grasshoppers and crickets, beetles, flying ants, true bugs; also spiders. Nectar and fruit are main plant food. Often feeds at hummingbird feeders (as in Dublin, GA Feb 2005 or to fruit (as in Smyrna, GA 16-22 Dec 2005). Also, in winter in GA, pecan meats and sap.

Identification: Similarity to Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula with which it was once joined as a single species (Northern Oriole, Icterus galbula), can cause confusion, especially with females and hybrids. Sexually dimorphic. Breeding Adult Male: Crown, nape, back, scapulars and lores and bold eye-line connecting to nape are black. Rump yellowish. Middle 3 rectrices black and outer 3 rectrices yellow with dusky tips (black marking form a T-pattern on the upper side of tail). Supercilliary stripe yellow to yellow-orange; ear coverts and sides of neck orange-yellow; chin and center of throat to upper breast black. Remaining underparts bright orange but can be orange-yellow to yellow. Wing: lesser secondary coverts black; median coverts bright white forming conspicuous white patch that is lacking in Baltimore Oriole. Breeding Adult Female: Variable and easily confused with Baltimore female. Crown golden yellow-gray. Back, scapulars and rump pale grayish brown, slightly darker on back, which is often faintly mottled with dark gray. Supercilliary stripe yellowish; throat yellowish or black or mixed. Ear-coverts, sides of neck and breast yellow. Wing: remiges gray-brown with one distinct and one indistinct white wingbar. Individuals with black in throat resemble first year males (Rising and Williams, 1999). Yellow brightest on malar, while in Baltimore female, orange brightest on breast (Sibley 2000). Note: Great care should be taken in identifying female Bullock's Orioles in Georgia, and the observer should always eliminate the greater possibility of a drab Baltimore female, which will normally show orange tones in the breast. Hybridizes with Baltimore Oriole, presenting additional identification challenges.

Conservation: Dependence on riparian forest habitat makes it vulnerable to the destruction of such habitat by depletion of groundwater for irrigation, as has happened in w. KS and e. CO where destruction of riparian habitat is widespread. Control of prairie fires and the planting of shelterbelts has increased breeding habitat. Common in the s. and w. Great Plains, central CA, and e. WA and OR (Rising and Williams 1999).

Literature cited:

Rising, J.D., and P. L. Williams, 1999. Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii). In The Birds of North America, No. 416 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

J.B. Grinnell, A.H. Miller 1944. Distribution of the birds of California. Pac. Coast Avifauna no. 11.


Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Dublin, Laurens County, GA on Feb. 20, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Dublin, Laurens County, GA on Feb. 20, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Dublin, Laurens County, GA on Feb. 20, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Dublin, Laurens County, GA on Feb. 20, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Statesboro, Bulloch County, GA on Feb. 10, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult female.
Bullock's Oriole, adult female. Photographed in Napa County, CA on July 23, 2003.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult female.
Bullock's Oriole, adult female. Photographed in Napa County, CA on July 23, 2003.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult female.
Bullock's Oriole, adult female. Photographed in Napa County, CA on July 23, 2003.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Napa County, CA on July 23, 2003.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult first year male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult first year male. Photographed in Napa County, CA on July 23, 2003.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole, adult male.
Bullock's Oriole, adult male. Photographed in Napa County, CA on July 23, 2003.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

Photo of Bullock's Oriole/Baltimore Oriole hybrid.
Possible Bullock's Oriole/Baltimore Oriole hybrid. Photographed in Statesboro, Bulloch County, GA on Feb. 10, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.


Possible Bullock's Oriole/Baltimore Oriole hybrid. Photographed in Statesboro, Bulloch County, GA on Feb. 10, 2007.
This photograph may only be used for educational purposes. It may not be used for commercial purposes or in publications without permission.

 

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