Family Vireos (Vireonidae)

Least Concern

Plumbeous Vireo (Vireo plumbeus)


French: Viréo plombé German: Weißstirnvireo Spanish: Vireo plomizo

Vireo plumbeus


, 1866,

Fort Whipple, Arizona, USA


Forms a group with V. cassinii (which see) and V. solitarius. Smaller S races notius and montanus may represent a separate species, as tentatively supported by molecular evidence#R; vocal analysis reveals that montanus often has simpler and purer song phrases, with less modulation and little burry quality in the notes, and that notius appears similar (score 2)#R, but, while notius is strikingly short-winged, montanus is intermediate; more research needed. Proposed race jacksoni (SC Montana) included in nominate; in Mexico, proposed races pinicolus (Mound Valley, in Chihuahua) and repetens (Tixtla, in Guerrero) likewise treated as synonyms of nominate. Race notius dates from Feb, montanus from Oct. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. p. plumbeus Coues, 1866 – Plumbeous Vireo – WC USA (S Idaho, Wyoming, SE Montana and SW South Dakota S to E California, C Arizona and W Texas) S to SW Mexico (to Guerrero and SC Oaxaca); winters from S Arizona (rarely) S through W Mexico.
  • V. p. gravis A. R. Phillips, 1991 – EC Mexico (N & W Puebla, probably NE Hidalgo); winters also S to SE Veracruz.
  • V. p. notius Van Tyne, 1933 – Central American Vireo – Belize.
  • V. p. montanus van Rossem, 1933 – S Mexico (extreme SE Oaxaca, Chiapas) S to Honduras and N Nicaragua#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·75 cm; 12–20·3 g. Nominate race has eyering and area above lores white, ear-coverts leaden grey, crown to nape and upperparts leaden grey, very faint... read more


    Primary song, by male only, a series of short, jerky phrases of 2–4 notes, characteristically... read more


    Breeding habitat is various types of forest, predominantly coniferous, in USA mostly at 1150–... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food predominantly arthropods; no quantitative studies, but by analogy with closely related species probably mainly Lepidoptera, bugs (... read more


    Most information from studies of N nominate race. Laying from Apr in S USA, from May farther N; resident populations in Mexico delay... read more


    Nominate race entirely migratory in US range, wintering from S California (sparsely) and SC Arizona... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Significant range expansions in historic times, into California and Nevada since 1940; subsequent substantial additional... read more

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Plumbeous Vireo (Vireo plumbeus). 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 on 19 May 2019).