Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

Warbling Vireo

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Vireonidae | [latin] Vireo gilvus | [UK] Warbling Vireo | [FR] Vireo melodieux | [DE] Sangervireo | [ES] Vireo gorjeador | [NL] Orpheusvireo


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Vireo gilvus NA, MA widespread
Vireo gilvus brewsteri
Vireo gilvus gilvus
Vireo gilvus swainsoni
Vireo gilvus sympatricus
Vireo gilvus victoriae

Physical charateristics

In this very plain vireo, note the whitish breast and the lack of black borders on the eyebrow stripe. No wing bars.

wingspan min.: 20 cm wingspan max.: 24 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America, Middle America : widespread


Deciduous and mixed woods, aspen groves, poplars, shade trees.
Breeds in open deciduous or mixed woodland; also in orchards, shade trees of towns. Avoids unbroken mature forest. In the East, often in isolated groves near water. In the West, breeds in broad-leaved trees of mountains, canyons, and prairie groves. Wint
ers in the tropics in open woods.


Male defends territory by singing. In courtship, male struts and hops around female with his wings spread and tail fanned, usually not far from potential nest site.
In the East, usually placed high in tree, up to 90′. In the West, often found in shrub or tree within 30′ of ground. Generally in deciduous tree or shrub. Nest (built by both sexes) is a compact, deep cup, suspended by its rim from a horizontal forked
twig; bottom of nest hangs suspended in midair. Nest made of bark strips, grass, leaves, and plant fibers.
Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-5. White with brown or black specks. Incubation is by both parents, 12-14 days. Male frequently sings from nest while incubating. Commonly parasitized by cowbirds.
Young: Nestlings are fed and brooded by both parents, leave the nest 12-16 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects, some berries.
In breeding season feeds mainly on insects, including many caterpillars, plus aphids, beetles, grasshoppers, ants, bugs, scale insects, flies, dragonflies; also eats some spiders and snails. Takes berries and small fruit from bunchberry, dogwood, pokewee
d, sumac, elderberry, poison-oak, and many other plants, especially in late summer and fall.
Behavior: Forages mostly in deciduous trees, sometimes in shrubs, hopping along twigs and searching for insects among the leaves. Also picks insects off the undersides of leaves while hovering briefly.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Warbling Vireo status Least Concern


Canada to southern United States, central Mexico. Winters Mexico to Nicaragua. Migration: Migrates mostly at night
. Most eastern breeders apparently travel north and south via Texas and Mexico, rather than flying across Gulf of Mexico.

Distribution map

Warbling Vireo distribution range map

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