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Species Guide
A photo of a Plumbeous Vireo (Vireo plumbeus)
Plumbeous Vireo

Plumbeous Vireo

Vireo plumbeus

The Plumbeous Vireo, Vireo plumbeus, presents itself as a small North American songbird of modest appearance. It measures approximately 4.75 inches in length and is adorned with a gray head, back, and flanks. The underparts of this bird are a contrasting whitish hue, providing a subtle yet distinctive palette. A solid white eye ring and white wing bars are key features that aid in its identification.

Identification Tips

When endeavoring to identify the Plumbeous Vireo, look for its gray coloration and the stark white eye ring that encircles its eye. The white wing bars are also notable markers. Its size, similar to that of a sparrow, and its active foraging behavior within the foliage can be helpful clues to the observer.


The open pine forests serve as the preferred habitat for the Plumbeous Vireo. These environments provide the necessary resources and shelter for the species to thrive.


The range of the Plumbeous Vireo extends from the southeastern reaches of Montana and western South Dakota, stretching southward to the Pacific coast of Mexico, inclusive of the southernmost areas of Baja California Sur.


This bird is known for its migratory patterns, retreating to the southern part of its range during the winter months. It is a species that exhibits persistence in its song delivery, which can be heard throughout its habitat.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Plumbeous Vireo consists of short, rough whistled phrases composed of several notes. These phrases are typically spaced about 2 seconds apart and often alternate between ending on a high note and a low note, creating an auditory illusion of a question and answer session.


In the breeding season, the Plumbeous Vireo constructs a cup nest from bark strips and down, strategically placed in the fork of a twig. The female lays a clutch of 3 to 5 white eggs, which are adorned with some brown spots.

Similar Species

The Plumbeous Vireo was once considered conspecific with Cassin's Vireo and the Blue-headed Vireo, forming what was known as the "solitary vireo" complex. However, differences in vocalizations, habitat preferences, and subtle visual distinctions have led to their separation into distinct species.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Plumbeous Vireo as a species of Least Concern, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population levels that would warrant a higher degree of conservation action.

Plumbeous Vireo Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Plumbeous Vireos on Birda


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Rufous-browed Peppershrike

Cyclarhis gujanensis
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