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Black-whiskered Vireo Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A small but stout-bodied songbird with a straight rather thick bill with a sharp hook.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a Yellow Warbler, smaller than a Northern Mockingbird.

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
      • Weight: 0.6-0.8 oz (17-22 g)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize at least six different subspecies, each differing in voice, bill size, and plumage color and pattern. Florida birds are of subspecies barbatulus, which also nests in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Cayman Islands. This smaller-billed subspecies migrates southward in fall to winter in the Amazon Basin. The longer-billed altiloquus breeds in Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico and has been recorded in the southeastern U.S. as a rare visitor. This subspecies mostly migrates southward in winter, though Hispaniolan birds are resident, and a few stay year-round elsewhere in the Great Antilles. The even longer-billed barbadensis inhabits St. Croix and the Lesser Antilles, while bonairensis is on Curaçao, Bonaire, and other islands off Venezuela; grandior is on Providencia Island, Colombia; and canescens is on San Andrés Island, Colombia. These last three subspecies do not migrate.