Blue-headed Vireo: Medium-sized vireo with olive-green upperparts, white underparts, and yellow flanks. Head has blue-gray hood, white spectacles, and white throat. The wings are dark with two white or pale yellow bars. Weak, fluttering flight with rapid wing beats. May hover briefly.
Range and Habitat
Blue-headed Vireo: Breeds from Connecticut (and southward along crest of the Alleghenies) northward to New Brunswick and Manitoba; Spends winters from Florida southward. Preferred habitats include coniferous and mixed forests.
Because the deciduous trees have not leafed out when the vireos arrive on their breeding grounds, most courtship nests and first breeding nests are built in evergreen hemlock trees.
The Blue-headed Vireo, the Plumbeous Vireo, and Cassin's Vireo were formerly considered a single species known as the Solitary Vireo. In 1997, the Blue-headed Vireo reappeared as a distinct species when molecular genetic studies demonstrated differences among the Solitary Vireo complex.
Their dependence upon hemlocks may prove troublesome because this tree is being decimated by an introduced Asian insect, the hemlock wooly adelgid.
A group of vireos are collectively known as a "call" of vireos.
The Blue-headed Vireo has a very large range, extending to 3,300,000square kilometers. The bird is primarily found in the North America, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Cuba, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Saint Pierre, Miquelon, Panama, Turks, and Caicos Islands, though it can sometimes be spotted in Jamaica. It prefers a forest ecosystem, but can live in boreal, temperate, or subtropical conditions within the forest. The global population has not been exacted, but the bird is not believed to meet population decline criteria to qualify for the IUCN Red List. The current evaluation level of the Blue-headed Vireo is Least Concern.