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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Black-capped Vireo -- Vireo atricapillus

RANGE: Breeds in central Oklahoma locally through central and western Texas to north-central Mexico. Winters mainly in western Mexico.

STATUS: Fairly common to uncommon. Populations decreasing.

HABITAT: Generally inhabits the dense, low, ragged-topped thickets growing in hot, rocky hillsides, including stands of oaks, mescalbean, sumac, cedar, or other chaparral brush; prefers scrub oaks. May also be found in prairie ravines and early successional stages of brushlands. Prefers habitat arranged in rectangular or oval formation instead of linear.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Low, dense shrubs or trees.

NEST: Builds a deep, cuplike nest suspended from a fork of slender twigs in trees or shrubs, usually 2 to 6 feet above the ground. Prefers oaks in parts of its range, but uses other tree and shrub species.

FOOD: Gleans insects from leaves of shrubs (especially oaks). Also eats a few spiders and small fleshy fruits.

REFERENCES: Graber 1961, Kaufman in Farrand 1983c, Johnsgard 1979, Oberholser 1974b.

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