Bird GuideVireosHutton's Vireo

At a Glance

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.
Perching Birds, Vireos
Low Concern
Arroyos and Canyons, Desert and Arid Habitats, Forests and Woodlands, High Mountains, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets
California, Northwest, Southwest, Texas, Western Canada
Direct Flight, Flitter, Rapid Wingbeats

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

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


4 1/4-4 3/4" (11-12 cm). Compact and chunky, with eye-ring and wing-bars. Has thicker bill than Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and different wing pattern, lacking the black bar behind the second white wing-bar. Also see Cassin's Vireo.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Black, Gray, Green, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Notched, Square-tipped

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.
Call Pattern
Falling, Flat, Rising
Call Type
Buzz, Chirp/Chip, Whistle


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.



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.


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

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.


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.


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.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Fairly common, numbers apparently stable.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Hutton's Vireo. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Hutton's Vireo

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.