Hooded Oriole

Icterus cucullatus
Hooded Oriole

In California, the Hooded Oriole is fond of nesting in palm trees. They mostly spend winters on the Pacific coast of southern Mexico. But they make their summer homes in northern Mexico and just over the border in the USA and much of coastal California.

Science recognises five subspecies of Hooded Oriole:

  • I. c. cucullatus lives in the Rio Grande valley in Texas and south through Mexico to Oaxaca and Veracruz.
  • I. c. sennetti lives in the lower Rio Grande valley of Texas south along the coastal plain into Tamaulipas.
  • I. c. igneus lives in southern Mexico from East Tabasco and the Yucatán peninsula south into Belize.
  • I. c. nelsoni lives from California south to North Baja California, and east into Arizona and New Mexico.
  • I. c. trochiloides lives in Baja California and the Mexican mainland.

Until my expeditions to Texas in 2020 and 2021, my meetings with Hooded Orioles were all from near my home in southern California, which would be the race I. c. nelsoni. When I met the Texas birds, especially those in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (probably I. c. sennetti), they had some surprises for me. The first surprise was their voice. My California birds issue sharp piercing whistles as calls, but the Texas birds almost whispered by comparison. The second surprise was the rich orange tint to their yellow color, a trait mostly lacking in the birds of California.

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54 Photos