|A female hooded oriole visits a feeder in Mission Viejo. Photo by J.J. Meyer|
Hooded and Bullock's orioles are the two most common species of orioles that breed in Southern California. Both are medium-size songbirds, about 8-inches long with slender bodies, long tail and a long, slightly curved beak.
Orioles are a favorite among backyard birders because of their bright colors. Adult males tend to be bright yellow or orange over most of their body with black wings and white wingbars. Females are less colorful with mostly dull yellow bodies and gray wings. Male hooded orioles have a distinctive black face and throat with a hood of orange or yellow-orange while the Bullock's species can be differentiated by a black cap and eyeline.
Hooded orioles are often spotted along the California coast because fan palms are a favorite nesting site. You can attract them to your yard with nectar, fruit and jelly, though they tend to be extremely skittish around people.