Photo: Greg W. Lasley/Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Vireo flavifrons

In leafy eastern forests, especially among the tall oaks, the slow, husky phrases of the Yellow-throated Vireo can be heard in spring and summer. More colorful than most vireos, it is not any easier to see, usually remaining out of sight in the foliage. However, the male sings throughout the breeding season, as late as August and September.
Conservation status Over the last century, apparently has declined in the Northeast, increased in parts of the upper Midwest. Overall numbers probably stable at present.
Family Vireos
Habitat Deciduous woodlands, shade trees. Breeds in tall trees in open deciduous woods. Prefers trees such as oaks and maples along streams, lakes, and roadsides. Also will summer in tall trees or orchards in towns. Avoids areas with dense undergrowth. Generally absent in mixed or coniferous forest, where it is probably replaced by the Solitary Vireo. Winters in tropical lowlands and foothills, in habitats ranging from rain forest to dry scrub.
In leafy eastern forests, especially among the tall oaks, the slow, husky phrases of the Yellow-throated Vireo can be heard in spring and summer. More colorful than most vireos, it is not any easier to see, usually remaining out of sight in the foliage. However, the male sings throughout the breeding season, as late as August and September.
Photo Gallery
  • adult
  • adult
  • adult
Feeding Behavior

Forages by searching for insects rather methodically along the twigs and in foliage high in trees. In winter, defends feeding territory and will drive away others of its own kind, but will associate with mixed foraging flocks of other birds.


Eggs

4, sometimes 3-5. Pinkish or creamy white with heavy spots of brown or lavender near large end. Incubation is by both parents, 14-15 days. Frequently parasitized by cowbirds. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest 14-15 days after hatching. The parents divide the fledglings, each adult caring for part of the brood.


Young

Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest 14-15 days after hatching. The parents divide the fledglings, each adult caring for part of the brood.

Diet

Mostly insects, some berries. Feeds mainly on insects. In summer, over one-third of diet may be caterpillars, moths, and butterflies; also eats true bugs, scale insects, aphids, leafhoppers, beetles, sawflies, tree crickets, dragonflies, cicadas, and others. Will also eat various berries, especially in fall.


Nesting

Male defends nesting territory by singing incessantly. In courtship, male leads female to potential nest sites. Nest: Placed in tree (usually deciduous), generally 20-40' above the ground but can be 3-60' up. Both sexes help build open thick-walled cup nest, supported by the rim woven onto a horizontal forked twig. Nest made of weeds, shreds of bark, grass, leaves, and plant fibers. Outside of nest bound with spiderwebs and camouflaged with lichens and mosses; lined with fine grass and pine needles.

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

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

Migration

Migrates mostly at night. A rather early spring migrant in the South, often appearing in late March.

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Migration

Migrates mostly at night. A rather early spring migrant in the South, often appearing in late March.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Similar to song of Red-eyed and Solitary vireos, but lower in pitch and with a husky or burry quality to the phrases.
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

Yellow-throated 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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