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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Red-eyed Vireo -- Vireo olivaceus
(includes Yellow-green Vireo (Vireo flavoviridis))


RANGE: Breeds from southwestern British Columbia and southern Mackenzie southeast to central Ontario and the Maritime Provinces, south to northern Oregon, eastern Colorado, western Oklahoma to central Texas, the Gulf Coast, and central Florida. Very rare in California, Arizona, and southern Texas. Winters in South America.

STATUS: Abundant; rare in the Southwest.

HABITAT: Inhabits open deciduous and mixed forests with dense understory of saplings, in wooded clearings, or borders of burns. Found in both upland and river-bottom forests, and sometimes in residential areas where abundant shade trees provide a continuous canopy. Seldom found where conifers make up 75 percent or more of the basal area.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Deciduous trees with dense understory.

NEST: Builds nest in deciduous or coniferous trees or shrubs. Suspends deep cup nest from a horizontal fork of a slender branch, usually in dense foliage 5 to 10 feet above the ground, but sometimes as high as 60 feet.

FOOD: Consumes insects, gleaned from leaf surfaces in mid to upper tree canopies, for about 85 percent of the diet. Also eats spiders, a few snails, wild fruits, and berries.

REFERENCES: Chapin 1925, Forbush and May 1955, James 1976, Johnsgard 1979, Laurence 1953a.


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