Warbling Vireos

The Warbling Vireo, Vireo gilvus, can be found in open deciduous and mixed woods across most of North America, ranging from Alaska to Mexico. These birds migrate to Mexico and Central America.

They build deep cup nests suspended from tree branches or shrub, placed relatively high in the east and lower in the west. Both male and female share in the incubation duties.

Identification Tips

  • Size: Adults are about 4.75 inches or 12 cm long and weigh 12 g. (Western birds generally smaller)
  • Gender ID: Sexes similar
  • Plumage:
    • Mainly olive-grey on the head and upperparts with white underparts
    • Gray or olive-gray head, back, wings, and tail
    • Front of the face is light colored
    • White supercilium (line above eye)
    • May have pale yellow wash on belly or flanks
    • White underparts
    • No wing bars
    • Pale lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head)
    Brown eyes
  • Stout bill with hooked upper beak
  • Thick blue-grey legs
  • Juveniles may have yellowish flanks or belly in fall and a faint buff wing bar


Diet include insects and berries.

Call / Song:

Their song is a cheerful warble. There are subtle differences in song between eastern and western birds.


Some authorities split the eastern and western races of this species into separate species:

  • Western Warbling Vireo, V. swainsoniiEastern Warbling Vireo, V. gilvus
Warblign Vireo
Photo of author

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