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Gray Vireo

Vireo vicinior

Length: 5.5 inches Wingspan: 8 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys:  Gray overall, white eye ring, underparts lighter, pale lores, very weak wingbar

Gray Vireo - Vireo viciniorThe Gray Vireo is a rather nondescript vireo species of the southwestern United States.  They have a gray overall plumage without any strongly contrasting plumage features, although a complete white eye-ring is usually relatively obvious.  They are mostly found in arid shrublands, where they can be found actively moving through the foliage of shrubs and brush, searching for insects. Unlike most other vireo species, they will also sometimes feed directly on the ground as they search for insects.

Habitat: Found in a variety of dry, brushy habitats, including areas of chaparral, pinyon-juniper shrublands, or sagebrush and mesquite habitats.

Diet: Feeds heavily on insects and spiders, but will also feed on berries, particularly during the winter months.

Behavior: Forages by climbing and flitting through the foliage of shrubs and brush, searching for insects.  They will also sometimes forage on the ground.

Nesting: The nest of a Gray Vireo is a small cup built of grasses, weed stems, bark fibers, leaves, and spider webs, placed in the fork of a small branch.  The female lays between 3 and 5 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.  When the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the young.  The young leave the nest after about 2 weeks. Gray Vireos may raise more than one brood per summer breeding season.

Song: The song of a Gray Vireo is a series of rough phrases

Migration: Migratory, but only moving short distances.  Birds that summer in the United States mostly winter in northwestern Mexico, although some can be found in southern Arizona and southwest Texas.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Gray Vireo sightings

Similar Species: Bell's Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo.  Also could be confused with the Gnatcatcher species found in the area (Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher)

Conservation Status: Gray Vireos are relatively common in parts of their range, and overall populations may be increasing.  The IUCN lists the Gray Vireo as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) California Partners in Flight - Gray Vireo

2) New Mexico Avian Conservation Partners - Gray Vireo

3) Audubon Guide - Gray Vireo

Photo Information: Photo taken by "seabamirum" - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Gray Vireo - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota