Photo: Rick & Nora Bowers/Vireo

Hutton's Vireo

Vireo huttoni

In woods of the Pacific Coast and the Southwest, this little vireo hops about actively in the oaks. The bird bears a surprising resemblance to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (which is often more common in the same woods in winter); it even twitches its wings in kinglet style when it is excited. Hutton's has the most monotonous song of all the vireos, a single note repeated over and over.
Conservation status Fairly common, numbers apparently stable.
Family Vireos
Habitat Woods and adjacent brush; prefers oaks. Breeds in oak and pine-oak forests, preferring evergreen oaks, or in tall chaparral. Also lives in mountain canyons in sycamores, maples, and willows along streams. In Pacific states, may be found in the shrubby understory of humid Douglas-fir and redwood forests. Winters in breeding habitat, also sometimes in thickets along lowland streams.
In woods of the Pacific Coast and the Southwest, this little vireo hops about actively in the oaks. The bird bears a surprising resemblance to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (which is often more common in the same woods in winter); it even twitches its wings in kinglet style when it is excited. Hutton's has the most monotonous song of all the vireos, a single note repeated over and over.
Photo Gallery
  • adult, Southwestern
  • adult, Pacific
  • adult, Pacific
Feeding Behavior

Forages in trees and shrubs by hopping from twig to twig, pausing to peer about as it searches for insects. Often hovers momentarily to pick an item from the foliage.


Eggs

4, sometimes 3-5, rarely fewer. White with brown specks near larger end. Incubation is by both parents, 14-16 days. Cowbirds often lay eggs in nests of this species. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest at about 14 days of age.


Young

Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest at about 14 days of age.

Diet

Mostly insects, some berries. Diet is not known in detail, but feeds mainly on insects (including some that seem large for small size of bird) such as caterpillars, beetles, and crickets, as well as spiders. Also eats some berries and small fruits, and some plant galls.


Nesting

Male sings almost constantly during breeding season to defend nesting territory. In courtship display, male approaches female, fluffs out his plumage, spreads his tail, and gives a whining call. Nest: Often in oak, sometimes in coniferous tree, usually 6-25' above the ground. Round cup-shaped nest is supported by the rim woven onto a forked twig. Nest (built by both sexes) is made of bark fibers, lichens, moss, grass, bound together with spiderwebs, lined with fine grass. Outside of nest often covered with whitish plant down and spider egg cases.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Mostly a permanent resident, but a few show up in fall and winter along lowland streams where the species is not present in summer.

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Migration

Mostly a permanent resident, but a few show up in fall and winter along lowland streams where the species is not present in summer.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Loud short whistles and chatter. A monotonous 2-part phrase, either up-slurred or down-slurred: chu-whe, chu-wee or che-eer, che-eer. Call is a harsh chit-chit.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Vireos Perching Birds

Hutton's Vireo

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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