Family Vireos (Vireonidae)

Least Concern

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)


French: Viréo mélodieux German: Sängervireo Spanish: Vireo gorjeador

Muscicapa gilva


, 1808,

#R, New York State, USA


Sometimes placed in Melodivireo (see V. philadelphicus). Often considered conspecific with V. leucophrys. Hybridization with V. olivaceus reported from Nevada (SW USA). Nominate race has been treated as a single monotypic species, the other races together forming a separate species, on basis of alleged degree of reproductive isolation of the two in overlap zone in S Canada (Alberta) and some vocal differences#R, as well as molecular data#R; further study required. Status in EC Mexico (EC & N Puebla) unclear: a race sympatricus was proposed for a claimed population there, but species is not known to breed in that part of Mexico#R. Proposed race leucopolius (Warner Mts, in SE Oregon) included in swainsoni; petrorus (Wyoming, in WC USA) and connectens (Guerrero, in SW Mexico) both subsumed into brewsteri. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. g. swainsoni S. F. Baird, 1858 – Western Warbling Vireo – from SE Alaska and W Canada (S from S Yukon, SW Mackenzie region and W Alberta) S in W USA (E to N Montana) to SW California; migrates to W & S Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and W Nicaragua.
  • V. g. brewsteri (Ridgway, 1903) – Rocky Mts from SW Montana and S Idaho S through SW Texas to W Mexico (S to SC Oaxaca); winters in Mexico.
  • V. g. victoriae Sibley, 1940 – Cape region of Baja California (W Mexico); wintering area unknown.
  • V. g. gilvus (Vieillot, 1808) – Eastern Warbling Vireo – S Canada (C Alberta E to extreme SW Ontario and New Brunswick) and USA (E from N Montana, S to S Oklahoma, Louisiana and Virginia); migrates to Central America.
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–14 cm; 11–18·4 g (nominate), 9·9–15·8 g (swainsoni). Nominate race has forehead, crown and nape medium grey,... read more


    Song a set of continuous spirited warbling notes lasting for 2·5-3 seconds, often ending on... read more


    On breeding grounds a wide variety of deciduous woodland, both in interior and at forest edge;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Analysis of stomach contents (Apr–Oct) indicates that great majority (97%) of food consists of arthropods, including spiders (Araneae... read more


    First egg dates typically in late May or early Jun in NE USA; laying late Apr to late Jul in California (mostly late May to mid-Jun), mid-... read more


    Highly migratory over much of range. Canada and USA completely vacated after breeding season.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common over much of range. Breeding Bird Surveys for North America as a whole over years 1966–2005 show a statistically significant increase of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus). 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 21 April 2019).