Bullock's Oriole

Scientific Name: Icterus bullockii

Pictures: (click for larger images)

A male Bullock's Oriole seen at Malibu Creek state park (not on campus) 4/23/06.  Photo by Jason Finley.
Bullock's Oriole (probably male) in the top of a tall palm tree (one of a group of 3) near the middle of the UCLA Botanical Garden. 4/21/06.  Photo by Bobby Walsh.
Bullock's Oriole Illustration.

-Illustration by Robert C. Stebbins from "Birds of the Campus" (1947) by Dr. Loye Miller.

Description: Medium. 7 " in length (beak to tail), smaller than a pigeon, bigger than a sparrow.   These dudes tend to be pretty sleek looking, with a thin dark beak and longish tail (for their size).  They're dark on the back/top. with a white stripe on the wings.  On the front/bottom, they're orange/yellow, with the males being brighter in color than the females and also having black on their throat and the top of their head, and a thin stripe of black at theor eyes, like a little mask.

Sound: They have a chattering call and a song that includes whistling and rattling sounds.  Listen to a Bullock's Oriole singing and calling!  Link is to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's sound page for this bird.

Commonality/Seasonality: Rare, and only in spring/summer.  Mostly we'll just get some passing through during migration, I think.

Location: They like tall trees, like eucalyptus or palm.  When the eucalyptus are in bloom, these birds might be found there, gleaning insects from the flowers.  We've only seen them for sure recently in the UCLA Botanical Garden, but it's suspected they would also stand a good chance of showing up in the Native Fragment or perhaps the Creek.  They've also been sighted at the VA (Veteran's Administration) Center.  Around the apartment son the west side of campus is another possible place.

Notes: Like the Black-headed Grosbeak, the Bullock's Oriole is not a species that spends much time on campus, though it's something cool to keep an eye and ear out for during Spring (like around late April).
Hooded Orioles are also possible visitors.


Not until August 23, 1944, did I see this species actually on the campus. A young male of the year dropped down to a tree near the bridge, chattered a few times, tried out the first few notes of a song—and then away to the southward for Mexico.

-Miller, Loye.  "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300.  Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins.  Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.



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