The Hooded Oriole is a medium-sized songbird that belongs to the Icteridae family. It measures between 7.5 to 8 inches in length and weighs between 0.6 to 1.2 ounces. Male Hooded Orioles have a bright yellow body with a black head, throat, and back, while females have a duller yellow-green color with grayish-brown wings and tail. Both sexes have a distinctive black mask around their eyes.
The Hooded Oriole’s breeding range includes parts of the southwestern United States and western Mexico. During the breeding season, these birds are found in open woodlands, parks, and gardens with mature trees, where they build a hanging nest made of fibers and suspended from the end of a branch. They lay 2-5 eggs, which hatch after 12-14 days. After the breeding season, Hooded Orioles migrate to Central America and Mexico to spend the winter.
In addition to their striking appearance, the Hooded Oriole has a distinctive and melodious song that is described as a whistled “tsee-tsee-tsee-tee-yip-yip-yip.” They also have a harsh call that sounds like a raspy “chack” or “kik-kik.” The Hooded Oriole feeds on nectar, insects, and fruit, and is known to visit hummingbird feeders to sip sugar water.
To attract Hooded Orioles to your backyard, plant flowering plants and shrubs such as honeysuckle, trumpet vine, and flowering currant, which provide a source of nectar. Offering fresh fruit or orange slices may also attract them. Hooded Orioles are generally solitary birds, but they can sometimes be seen in pairs or small groups during migration. These birds are fascinating to watch, and their striking appearance and beautiful song make them a welcome addition to any birder’s backyard.