Bell's Vireo Life History


Habitat ScrubDense, low, shrubby vegetation, generally early successional stages in riparian areas, brushy fields, young second-growth forest or woodland, scrub oak, coastal chaparral, and mesquite brushlands, often near water in arid regions.Back to top


Food InsectsInsects and spiders.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Shrub

Nest Description

Open bag-like or basket-like cup of grass, straw-like stems, plant fibers, small skeletonized leaves, paper, and strips of bark fastened with spider silk; lined almost invariably with fine, brown or yellow grass stems. Outside decorated with spider egg cases. Suspended from forks of low branches of small trees or shrubs.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-5 eggs
Egg Description:White with sparse spotting.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless and naked.
Back to top


Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans from leaves, twigs, and branches. Sometimes hovers while feeding.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernBell's Vireo populations were stable between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. However, one subspecies, the "Least" Bell's Vireo of California is considered endangered, primarily from loss of riparian habitat and cowbird parasitism. This subspecies is declining throughout its range, and is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of Bell's Vireo of 4.6 million with 77% breeding in the U.S., and 81% spending some part of the year in Mexico. They are listed as a Tri-National Concern species, and rate a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Back to top


Kus, Barbara, Steven L. Hopp, R. Roy Johnson and Bryan T. Brown. 2010. Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Back to top