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Warbling Vireo     vireo

Identification and Pictures

(Vireo gilvus)Warbling-viero

Warbling vireo is a small North American song bird, about 5 1/2 inches, somewhat like a wood warbler.  Unlike some vireos, this one does not have wing bands.  They have a dull greenish back, olive-gray on the head, with a light eyebrow stripe that arches above a dark eye, and they are whitish below.  Western birds have yellow below and on the sides.  They have a stout bill, and thick blue gray legs.  Male, and female birds look the same.  They are often difficult to spot, being easier to locate by their song.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Range and Habitat

VieroWarbling vireos range across most of the U.S., and much of Canada in summer, migrating south to Mexico, and Central America for the winter.  They like deciduous shade trees, and mixed woods, cottonwoods, willow, aspens, riparian woodlands, and pastures.  They prefer forest edges, and trees near river, and stream banks.  They are most often found in high tree tops.


Breeding and Nesting

Vireos are monogamous.  Breeding is late May through July.  Both members of a pair will build a basket like nest that hangs from a forked tree branch or shrub.  The nest is made of grass, leaves, bark strips, plant fibers, lichen, hair, and spider webs.  They incubate 4 smooth, white eggs for 12 to 14 days.  The male helps in incubations, and will often sing from the nest.  Both parents will care for the young birds for around 2 weeks in the nest, and another 2 weeks after they fledge.

Song and Call

Their song is a weak, cheerful warble.  Call note is a wheezy tweeListen to sound


Vireos eat insects, spiders, snails, berries, and fruit.  They forage mostly in tree tops, by hopping around branches, and also hovering in the air to grab insects.

To learn about other favorite birds click here.

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