Black-capped Vireo

ID Info
Silhouette VireosVireos

Black-capped Vireo

Vireo atricapilla
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Vireonidae
Basic Description

A specialty of Texas scrub oak habitats, the Black-capped Vireo is a snazzy songbird with a gleaming black head and thick white “spectacles” around bright red eyes. They are unusual among vireos in having differing adult male, immature male, and adult female plumages. These birds tend to skulk in thick scrub and can be hard to see, even though breeding males sing their long, varied songs through the heat of the day. This species was listed as Endangered until 2018, and is still on the Partners in Flight Yellow Watch List.

More ID Info
image of range map for Black-capped VireoRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Black-capped Vireos nest in very specific habitats in a small range. Try using eBird to narrow down publicly accessible locations to look for them. In spring, males sing incessantly, often even through the middle of the day. Patience is indispensable with Black-capped Vireos, which seem to move just as they are spotted and usually remain buried in thick oak scrub. “Pishing” and squeaking may bring a bird into the open. Black-capped Vireos do not use feeders but often come to water-drip features in the morning and afternoon.

Other Names
  • Vireo Cabecinegro (Spanish)
  • Viréo à tête noire (French)
  • Cool Facts