Red-eyed Vireo

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Vireo olivaceus

Red-eyed Vireo

The Red-eyed Vireo is a small American songbird. It is one of the most common summer residents of Eastern forests.

Both sexes are 4.7 - 5.1 inches long, with a wingspan of 9.1 - 9.8 inches and weight of 12 - 16 grams.

Adults are olive-green above, and pale yellow and white below.
They have a rather prominent whitish supercilium, and distinctive gray crown.
The supercilium is highlighted by both dark eye-stripe below, and a dusky lateral crown-stripe above.
They have ruby-red iris which is difficult to see in the fields.
It has a bulky, relatively short tail, and distinctly stout legs and bill.

Juveniles have brown eyes, and this color persists through the first winter.

CALL: A nasal, querulous “tshay” or “chway”, although migrants are usually silent. Include a nasal whining “quee”.
During courtship and nesting seasons, their repeated calls reveal their presence.

SONG: A persistent song, sung all day, a variable series of deliberate, short phrases.
Their persistent song is legendary. It is repeated as often as 40 times a minute, all through the day.

Feeds mostly on adult insects and larvae, especially caterpillars in summer.
They also eat berries in late summer and winter.

Breeds in mixed forest, parks and large gardens. It is common in deciduous woodlands.

Ranges from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Winters from north-western of South America to Amazon area.

The female builds the nest in 5 days, without assistance from the male. It is open cup-shaped nest made of vine-bark strips, grass, needles and twigs. The outer parts are firmly attached to the twigs, the fibers being warped around them in various directions.

It is lined beautifully with fibrous roots, grasses, and sometimes the hair of gray squirrel and raccoon. It is covered on the outside with wasp’s nest paper, and spider webbing. It is a typical vireo nest, that is suspended by its rim from a horizontally forked twig, or the corner of a tree trunk, and two radiating branches.

She lays 3 to 4 dull white eggs with sparse, sepia speckling. She incubates them alone for about 11 - 14 days.

Both sexes use it to emphasize warning displays toward potential predators or interlopers.


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