Living Bird Magazine
Blue-headed VireoVireo solitarius
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Vireonidae
The Blue-headed Vireo offers a pleasing palette of moss green, bluish gray, and greenish yellow, set off by bold white “spectacles” (the eyering plus a “loral” spot next to the bill), throat, and belly. The wings and tail are a sharp black and white. Like most larger vireos, Blue-headed forages for insects and their larvae in trees, moving deliberately along branches, where it can be challenging to spot. Males sing a slow, cheerful carol, often the first indication of the species’ presence in a forest.More ID Info
Find This Bird
During summer, Blue-headed Vireos forage in the canopy of mature forests. They sing frequently, but it helps to learn how to distinguish their songs from Yellow-throated, Red-eyed, and Philadelphia Vireos. (Slower and sweeter than Red-eyed; less burry than Yellow-throated; less repetitive than Philadelphia.) Once a singing bird is located, a little patience in scanning through the foliage will usually be rewarded. During migration and winter, Blue-headed Vireos are readily attracted to pishing or similar sounds; also try imitating their mewling alarm call.
- Vireo Solitario (Spanish)
- Viréo à tête bleue (French)
Blue-headed Vireos don’t come to feeders, but leaving thickets, hedgerows, and vegetation tangles along forest edges (if you have them) will improve chances to see many migrating birds.
- Cool Facts
- The Blue-headed Vireo is the easternmost form in the "Solitary Vireo" complex. Formerly considered one species, three species now are recognized. In appearance it is the most brightly colored of the three.
- The Blue-headed Vireo is the only vireo within its range that makes extensive use of coniferous forests, although it also occupies deciduous habitats.
- The oldest recorded Blue-headed Vireo was at least 6 years, 5 months old. It was banded in Ontario and found in Guatemala.