The "Hooded Oriole" male has a brilliant orange "hood", belly and rump; black tail, throat and upper breast. His wings are crossed with two white bars. The tail is long and graduated.
The female oriole has an olive head and back, yellow belly and white wing bars.
The yearling male looks like the female, but with a black throat.
The "Hooded Oriole's" flight is strong and swift. Yet he seldom uses wings to forage for food. Rather, he hangs upside down in the shrubbery looking for caterpillars under leaves.
This is a southwestern bird that breeds and resides in central California, Nevada, central Arizona and Texas. During courtship in April, several males vie for the female by scolding and fighting while chasing her. The victor then bows ceremonially to his new mate. They dance a "pas de deux", as she responds by singing softly and hopping around him.
Calls or song.
The oriole song is a series of whistles, chatters and warbles.
Population and distribution.
His native habitat is the foliage and shrubbery of a desert watercourse yet this shy but trusting bird often visits ranches and suburban areas for food. A few "Hooded Orioles winter in southern California and south Texas.
A master basket weaver, the female "Hooded Oriole" constructs a cradle of plant fibers, such as Spanish Moss. She makes an entrance at the top, and this architectural wonder hangs from palm fronds, or the branches of eucalyptus or cottonwood trees. There she lays three to five white eggs with blotches of dark brown and purple. She may raise two or three broods a season, probably due to the invasion of the parasitical "Bronzed Cowbird", usurping space in the nest for one or two eggs of its own, which the oriole will incubate. She will build a separate nest for each brood.