South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Bell's Vireo

Vireo bellii

Length: 4.75 inches Wingspan: 7.5 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Generally plain, with dull wing bars, weak eye-ring, greenish-gray back, white to yellow underparts.

Bell's Vireo - Vireo belliiOften heard but not seen, the Bell's Vireo is often heard singing its repetitive, jumbled song from low brushy thickets.  They are unfortunately very common victims of Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism, and are in decline in many regions.

Habitat: Prefers low, bushy growth, including forest undergrowth, streamside thickets, woodland edges, and brushy fields.

Diet: Primarily feeds on insects.  They have a preference for large insects such as caterpillars, wasps, and certain beetles.  They also will feed on spiders, and occasionally on berries.

Behavior: Climbs and flits through low foliage in search of insects, sometimes catching flushed insects in mid-air, gleaning them from foliage while hovering, or grabbing them while climbing through the brush.

Nesting: June and July

Breeding Map: Breeding Bird Survey map

Song: Bell's Vireo Song

Migration: Summer in the Great Plains, parts of the Midwest, and parts of the Southwest.  Winters in Mexico and southward.

Similar Species: White-eyed Vireo, Gray Vireo

Conservation Status: Populations in the southwestern U.S. are generally stable, but Bell's Vireo are declining in the Midwest and southern Plains, and are endangered in California.  

Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Bell's Vireo

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Bell's Vireo"

3) eNature.com -- Bell's Vireo

Photo Information: July 29th, 2007 - Near Oahe Dam by Pierre - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Bell's Vireo photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Bell's Vireo - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant and summer resident in the south, especially along the Missouri River and its tributaries.