Blue-headed Vireo



Common Name:Blue-headed Vireo





SpeciesVireo solitarius

Photo: Sara Morris



The Blue-headed Vireo is a member of the Passeriformes. The name Blue-headed Vireo once applied to one subspecies in the Solitary Vireo, was recently split into three different species, the Blue-headed, Plumbeous, and Cassinís Vireo. The Blue-headed Vireo is a medium size vireo; the adult plumage is a bluish to gray head with a white eye-ring. The wings have two white bars. The Blue-headed Vireo has a white belly and yellowish flanks. Itís length is 13.97cm (5.5 inches) and its wingspan is 24.13cm (9.5 inches). The Blue-headed Vireo weighs about 16g (.56oz).


The Blue-headed Vireo is spread across Canada and the Eastern United States. They occupy both coniferous forests and deciduous forests. They may be found anywhere with trees that are middle-aged to mature and a high percent of canopy closure and with bushes and saplings under the trees. The Blue-headed Vireo migrates to the southern United States and into subtropical and tropical forests during the winter months. The Blue-headed Vireo eats medium to large insects, some spiders, once in a while they will also eat snails and larvae from leaves. In the winter they may eat fruit.



Pairing is rapid and will include a precopulatory displays and nest-building displays where the birds will stand with a lowered head, moving their body and beak in movements that resemble nest-building. This continues until the female indicates acceptance. They are monogamous and the male chooses and protects a territory and possibly one other. A Blue-headed Vireos nest is a rounded cup hanging from a branch; it is made of spider webs, grasses, bark strips, dead leaves, hair, and moss. The Blue-headed Vireo will decorate it with birch bark and spider egg cases. The inner lining includes rootlets, conifer twigs and grass. They lay 3-5 eggs per brood.




This bird is found in mature forests during the summer and are found during this time in areas in southern Western New York like Allegany State Park. They also may be found in large numbers during the spring and fall migration as birds travel through the area.









                                                                         Photo: Sara Morris

Birds of Western New York is brought to you by the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.