A Blue-headed Vireo is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Blue-headed Vireos. We have also put together a list of fun Blue-headed Vireo t-shirts, Blue-headed Vireo bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.
About Blue-headed Vireos
It is a vocal songbird common in the northeastern forests. It is the most colorful of all the “Solitary Vireo”. The blue-headed vireo makes use of its territory within coniferous forests even though it occupies wooded areas. The oldest Blue-headed Vireo recorded was an average of 6 and a half years old.
Description and Identification
Blue-headed Vireos are relatively small songbirds between 5 and 6 inches with wings
spanning between 2.9 – 3.3 inches. They have olive green upper bodies with two bold yellow
wing bars that go down their wings. They have crisp white underparts, and their eyes are
rounded with white circles and their tails and wings are blackish and are barred by two white
lines. The etymology of their names is derived from the bluish-gray crown that colors their
heads. There is little to no sexual dimorphism between the sexes, with both males and
females having the same sizes and plumes.
Blue-headed Vireo Color Pattern
The adults have white lines around their eyes making the medium-sized songbird have spectacles. They have two white streaks along with their wings, the underside is white with yellowish sides. It has gray upper-parts and olive-green color stretching from its head to its back.
Blue-headed Vireo Size
The relative size of both sexes of the Blue-headed Vireo include the following measurements
- Length 13-15 cm
- Weight 13 – 19 g
- Wingspan 20-24 cm
Blue-headed Vireo Behavior
Blue-headed Vireos are mostly foragers of the middle forest. They feed on insects on the outer twigs and some plant matter. They forage slowly in a more deliberate manner.
Blue-headed Vireo Food
Their diets revolve around insects, fruits, and seeds. Their insect prey mainly includes
moths, butterflies, stinkbugs, ladybird beetles, wood borers, click beetles, weevils, bees, ants,
dragonflies, stoneflies, grasshoppers, and crickets. They find their prey largely from the
interiors of a tree and sometimes at the branches, which they hop or fly to catch. The fruits
that they also eat are typical of sumac, wild grape, dogwood, elder, and wax myrtles.
Over the winter Blue-headed Vireo feeds on some fruit. Their constant source of nutrition is from the insects it consumes, ranging from large insects to small insects.
Blue-headed Vireo Habitat
Blue-headed Vireos breed in mature boreal and montane forests of various types. In the
north, they are commonly found in coniferous forests of pine, spruce, hemlock, or fire, with
no other vireo species nesting in these areas. The undergrowth in such areas can include
willow and alder, which are also used by these vireos for breeding. Other trees they
frequently breed in are beech, birch, poplar, hickory, and maple. For nesting, they tend to
use mature forests with closed canopies and healthy understories. During migration, they
may be found in any type of forest with extensive scrubby vegetation, vine tangles, and
complex understories. These areas include coastal swamps, coffee plantations, rainforests,
and cloud forests. Urban areas that they frequent are typically suburban parks and
Blue-headed Vireos are native to North America. It prefers a wide range that extends over large parts of Canada and the north part of the United States. During the breeding season, the Blue-headed Vireo prefer cool-tempered forests including evergreen forests with deciduous growth like shrubs. Their population is usually distantly distributed due to its immense territory.
Range and Migration
Blue-headed Vireos are migrating songbirds found in North and Central America. They are
common in mixed forests during the summer and are generally found in any kind of
woodland during migration seasons. Their range during their breeding seasons cover a large
expanse of Central and south-western Canada, along with a small portion of western United
States. Their migration seasons take them through central and southwestern United States
as they arrive at their wintering locations along the Atlantic Coast in Mexico and Central
Blue-headed Vireo Lifecycle
Their nests are in the form of an open cup suspended from a branch, woven of a spider web, grass, and dead leaves. The female lays a clutch size of 3 to 5 eggs over the breeding season and incubates them for a range of 13 to 15 days. Chicks take a period of 13 to 14 days after hatching to leave the nest.
Blue-headed Vireo Nesting
The nesting sites are selected by the males but must be approved by the females for the
construction to commence. Northern birds prefer coniferous trees to nest in whereas the
birds southward from Virginia prefer deciduous trees. These nests are typically placed about
6 – 15 feet above the ground in the fork of a tree branch. Both members of the pair
contribute to the construction of the nest, with the male taking on the early work in forming
the foundation and the female lining the nest. Supporting material like spiderwebs, bark
strips, lichens, grasses, plant down and fibers, twigs, moss, leaves, fur, and feathers are
wrapped around the fork to create a cup. The cup is then lined with finer materials like
grasses, rootlets, vines, and pine needles to create a secure space for the nestlings. Each
brood can have between 3 – 5 eggs in a season.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Blue-headed Vireos
The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Blue-headed Vireos are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Blue-headed Vireo T-shirts
If you love the Blue-headed Vireo you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Blue-headed Vireo Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Blue-headed Vireo is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Blue-headed Vireo Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Blue-headed Vireo. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Blue-headed Vireo
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Blue-headed Vireo
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.