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Plumbeous Vireo

Vireo plumbeus

Length: 5.25 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Summer / Migrant
ID Keys: White "spectacles", very gray with just a touch of color in fresh fall plumage, two white wing-bars.

Plumbeous Vireo - Vireo plumbeusThe Plumbeous, Blue-headed, and the Cassin's Vireo were all considered one species, the Solitary Vireo, until the 1990's.  The Plumbeous is the component of the three that summers in the mountain forests of the inland West.  It is much less colorful than the other two, appearing lead-gray in all but the freshest of fall plumage, when just a touch of yellow may be visible. 

Habitat: Found in pine and pine-oak forests of the mountain West, sometimes at elevations approaching 10,000 feet.

Diet: Primarily feeds on insects and spiders.  They will also consume fruits and berries, especially during the winter months.

Behavior: Climbs through foliage and branches in search of insects, usually relatively high in the forest canopy.  Will also occasionally fly out from a perch to snag flying insects in mid-air.

Nesting: Late May through July

Song: Varied song with deliberate pauses, often repeating.

Migration: Summers throughout pine and oak forests of the mountain West.  Winters in the extreme southwestern U.S., Mexico, and Central America. 

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

Similar Species: Cassin's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Gray Vireo

Conservation Status: They are quite frequent hosts to cowbird parasitism, but populations are considered stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Plumbeous Vireo

2) WhatBird - Plumbeous Vireo

3) Audubon Guide - Plumbeous Vireo

Photo Information: Photo courtesy of Larry Burlingame.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Plumbeous Vireo - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon summer resident and migrant in the Black Hills.

Additional Plumbeous Vireo Photos (coming soon!)