Gray Vireo Life History


Habitat ScrubFound in desert scrub, mixed juniper or pinyon pine and oak scrub associations, and chaparral, in hot, arid mountains and high plains scrubland.Back to top


Food InsectsArthropods, some fruits.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Shrub

Nest Description

Open hanging cup of loosely to tightly woven grasses, mesquite or soft juniper bark, plant fiber, spider webs, and cocoons. Lined with fine grass, long vegetable fibers, hair, and cottony thistle down. Sometimes decorated with whole sagebrush or other leaves.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-4 eggs
Egg Description:White with variable amount of small spots.
Condition at Hatching:Naked and pink, with eyes closed.
Back to top


Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans from leaves, twigs, and branches. Sometimes hovers while feeding or takes prey in flight. Drops to ground to capture insects.Back to top


Conservation Restricted RangeGray Vireo populations are small and of low abundance, but appeared stable or slightly increased between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 400,000 with 98% spending some part of the year in the U.S., and 76% in Mexico. They rate a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Despite evidence of stable populations, Gray Vireo is still listed 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. Back to top


Barlow, Jon C., Sheridan N. Leckie and Colette T. Baril. (1999). Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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

Looking for ID Help?

Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds.

Try Merlin Bird ID