English and Scientific names:

Bullock’s Oriole,  Icterus bullockii

Number of individuals: 

1 adult male

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

Peveto Beach Woods near BRAS Sanctuary

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

12:00-12:01, 1:37-1:44, and 2:14-2:15 PM

Reporting observer and address:

Paul Conover

Lafayette, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

2 male Bullock’s were reported on 4/4/09 by Donna Bordelon, 1 was seen by Mac Myers on 4/7, and 1 was seen by Tom Finnie on 4/11. These may represent duplicate sightings.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Overcast but even light. Good lighting for everything but photography. A bright orange bird tends to glow even in poor light.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss 10s, Nikon d50 w/200mm lens.

Distance to bird(s): 

down to about 10 yards.

Duration of observation:

9 minutes over 3 sightings


Remnant chenier woods with scattered trees but good rank undergrowth. Trees = live oak, hackberry, honey locust.

Behavior of bird: 

Mac and I got down just before 12:00 and Mac started down the road. I stayed by the vehicle to eat sardines and wait to see what Mac would scare back to me. The first bird that bailed my way was a bright orange oriole with a black eyeline and bib and bright white wing patches in flight. Luckily, I had finished my sardines by then and had my gear on. The bird landed about 20 yards away, I got one quick look to confirm it was a Bullock’s, but it took off and went about 20 yards on. It teased me like that for about 3 more short flights to the north then was gone.


I returned to that area on foot later and saw the bird well ahead in a sparse honey locust tree that it was feeding in. I took my time and snapped some photos and watched it, and it allowed closer approach. I got good open looks, and poor but adequate photos. The bird then made a flight of about 50 yards south to a live oak, sat on the outer edge, then twisted in to hide. I wandered that way in the course of birding, then came back though a half-hour later and found it in the honey locust again. This time, it repeated its leapfrogging evasion to the north, and I left it alone.


General: A bright orange bird with a blackbird bill slightly larger and stockier than the Orchard Oriole I saw it near at one point.


Specific: A “Northern” type oriole, brilliant gold- orange on the underparts, richer orange on the head and upper breast. Deep black on the mantle continuing narrowly up the nape onto the crown, forming a cap on the crown. Supercilia concolor with orange of remainder of head, dorsal edge of supercilia continuing forward evenly onto forehead then over culmen, separating the black of the cap narrowly from the base of the bill. Broadly black lores, thin but distinct black eyeline posterior to eye continuing rearward, appeared to join black of hindcrown/nape. Black bib about as wide as bill, beginning at base of mandible, onto chin, throat, upper breast. Wings black, flight feathers edged white. Broad bright white wing panel formed by white or white-edged median coverts. Tail pattern not seen perfectly but appeared to have black central rectrices, yellow-orange outer rects with black near tips.   


Mandible steely bluish or gray, maxilla duskier, at least on culmen. Eyes dark. Legs appeared to be colored like bill, but lighting made it difficult to tell for sure.




Similar species:

The characters are all consistent with Bullock’s. There weren’t any signs to indicate hybridization with Baltimore.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Previous experience with this species: 

I’ve seen Bullock’s many times before, and I’ve studied skins and photos extensively to separate from Baltimore.

Identification aids:


This description is written from: 

Memory, with support of photos.   

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 




Paul Conover

Date and time: