Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockiorum)


French: Oriole de Bullock German: Bullocktrupial Spanish: Turpial de Bullock

Xanthornus Bullockii


, 1827,

“Table land” [of Mexico] = Temascaltepec, México State, Mexico


DNA data indicate that species is sister to I. pustulatus. In the past usually treated as conspecific with I. galbula and I. abeillei. Hybridizes extensively with former in a belt from S Canada (Alberta and Saskatchewan) S in Great Plains to S USA (Oklahoma and Texas), but assortative mating (or selection against hybrids) evident at several locations. Smaller race parvus possibly unworthy of recognition, and size difference within species apparently clinal; retained pending further study. Proposed race eleutherus (from N Texas, in S USA), supposedly more orange than nominate, considered to fall within range of variation of latter. Species was explicitly named to honour both father and son Bullock, so original, singular spelling requires emendation to current plural form#R#R. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. b. bullockiorum (Swainson, 1827) – SW Canada (from S British Columbia and S Alberta) S in W USA (except C California S to W Arizona) to N Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila); winters C Mexico S to C Guatemala.
  • I. b. parvus van Rossem, 1945 – SW USA (from C California, S Nevada and W Arizona) S to NW Mexico (extreme N Baja California and extreme NW Sonora); winter range uncertain.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–23 cm; male average 37·9 g, female average 37·8 g. Male nominate race has crown to nape and back black, black eyeline and thin black stripe from chin... read more


    Song, by both sexes, a short series of whistles, less musical than song of I. galbula,... read more


    Open deciduous woodland with cottonwoods (Populus) and sycamores (Platanus),... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous; stomach contents 79% animal matter, 21% vegetable. Insects include caterpillars of Lepidoptera, ants (Formicidae), weevils (... read more


    Season Apr–Jun, earlier in S of range; single-brooded. Mostly monogamous, in California study only two of 96 males were bigamous;... read more


    Short-distance to medium-distance migrant. Nominate race leaves breeding grounds in Jul–Aug,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common or fairly common in most of range. Estimated global population of 3,800,000 individuals, and occurs in modified habitats. This... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fraga, R. (2020). Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockiorum). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).