Family Vireos (Vireonidae)

Least Concern

Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)


Taxonomy

French: Viréo à tête bleue German: Graukopfvireo Spanish: Vireo solitario
Taxonomy:

Muscicapa solitaria

A. Wilson

, 1810,

Bartram’s woods, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

.

Forms a group with V. cassinii (which see) and V. plumbeus. Breeding range in SW Canada overlaps slightly with that of V. cassinii, and some interbreeding may occur; cytochrome b sequence studies indicate as much divergence between the two as between present species and V. flavifrons, with which it has likewise hybridized. Specimens of hybrids from non-breeding range in S Mexico and Guatemala were formerly classified as a full species under name “V. propinquus”. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. s. solitarius (A. Wilson, 1810) – Canada (SW Northwest Territories and W Alberta E to SW Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) S in E USA to N Minnesota, N Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; migrates to S USA (C Texas E to C North Carolina, S to C Florida), E Mexico and S mainly to N Nicaragua, rarely W Cuba and I of Pines.
  • V. s. alticola Brewster, 1886 – S Appalachians from NE West Virginia and W Maryland S to N Georgia, casually elsewhere E of mountains; migrates to SE USA (SE Louisiana E to S South Carolina, S to S Florida).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; 14·1-19 g. Nominate race has crown, nape and ear-coverts slate-grey or blue-grey, sometimes with slight greenish suffusions, eyering and area above... read more

    Voice

    Primary song, by male alone, a series of discrete phrases, each c. 0·3 seconds in length and... read more

    Habitat

    In N parts of range, typically coniferous forest with spruce (Picea), fir (Abies... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet during breeding predominantly of animal items (96%), with little vegetable matter (4%); on wintering grounds much more vegetarian (up... read more

    Breeding

    Laying from late Apr to early May in Georgia and the Carolinas, and late May to early Jun in Wisconsin and Quebec; probably single-brooded... read more

    Movements

    N race (nominate) highly migratory, leap-frogging over alticola, which appears not to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common. Population appears to be increasing; Breeding Bird Surveys from 1966 to 2005 reveal significant annual increases of 4·2% (North America... read more

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/61258 on 16 February 2019).