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    Black-capped Vireo Life History


    Habitat ScrubLow scrub, often on poor or eroded soils, or in areas at an early stage of succession.Back to top


    Food InsectsAdult insects, insect larvae, and spiders.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Tree

    Nest Description

    Open hanging cup, made of leaves, grasses, plant fiber, and animal silk, lined with fine grass.Nest often decorated with spider silk, cocoons, or bits of paper. Cup opening is narrower than nest itself; adult can sit inside nest with only bill and tail tip showing.

    Nesting Facts
    Clutch Size:2-5 eggs
    Egg Description:Smooth and white.
    Condition at Hatching:Naked and pink, with eyes closed.
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    Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans from leaves, twigs, and branches. Sometimes hangs upside down or hovers while feeding.Back to top


    Conservation Red Watch ListBlack-capped Vireo are listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and are 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. The IUCN Red List lists them as Vulnerable. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 24,000, with 45% breeding in the U.S., and 100% spending some part of the year in Mexico. They are a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and a Tri-national Concern species, and rate an 18 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. These birds are largely extirpated from their traditional breeding range in the United States. Cowbird parasitism is a major threat; cowbird removal efforts have evidently led to local increases in Black-capped Vireo populations. Destruction of suitable habitat through urban and suburban development and livestock grazing also have significantly contributed to the species' decline. Habitat maintenance and creation through prescribed burning and other manipulation are a high management priority.Back to top


    Grzybowski, Joseph A. 1995. Black-capped Vireo (Vireo atricapilla), 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.

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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