- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Vireonidae
The Plumbeous Vireo is matte gray above and white below—it’s the most monochrome of the three species once combined as “Solitary Vireo.” Plumbeous sings a pleasing, burry song as it forages through dry pine forests in the beautiful canyons and mountains of the interior West, Great Basin, and Mexico. During migration and the nonbreeding season, this species often joins mixed-species flocks of woodland birds, especially on its wintering grounds.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Plumbeous Vireos are most easily located in spring, when males sing their slow, burry songs steadily through the morning, often from exposed perches in pines. Once the female lays eggs, males sing less frequently. Walk through open ponderosa pine forests to find them. On migration, keep an eye out for them in stream corridors and canyons, which usually attract many other species of migrating birds as well.
- Vireo plomizo (Spanish)
- Viréo plombé (French)
- Cool Facts
- Plumbeous, Cassin's, and Blue-headed Vireos were lumped together as the "Solitary Vireo" until 1997. In appearance, Plumbeous is the most uniform gray, without the yellow and green tones of the other two species. Its song is slower than the songs of either Blue-headed or Cassin’s.
- Plumbeous Vireo’s name is derived from the color of its upperparts, a rich gray color that looks like lead. The Latin word plumbeus means leaden and is in turn derived from the word for lead, plumbum.
- Plumbeous Vireos have some range overlap with Cassin’s Vireos and Gray Vireos. Gray Vireos usually forage and nest in pinyon pine-juniper vegetation, at lower elevations than Plumbeous. In eastern California, Cassin’s Vireos tend to use wetter, cooler parts of forests, while Plumbeous uses the warmer, drier, more open parts. Despite the proximity, no cases of Plumbeous x Cassin’s hybridization have ever been reported.
- The oldest recorded Plumbeous Vireo was at least 5 years old when it was recaught and rereleased during banding operations in New Mexico.