|Conservation status||Undoubtedly declined historically with clearing of eastern forest, but current population seems stable. Could be affected by cutting of forest on wintering grounds in South America.|
|Habitat||Woodlands, shade trees, groves. Breeds in deciduous and mixed forest, occasionally in conifers. Also well wooded suburbs, orchards, parks. Prefers open woods with undergrowth of saplings, clearings or edges of burns, areas along streams in solid forest, or prairie groves. Winters in lowland tropical forest in South America.|
Forages in trees by picking insects from foliage and from undersides of leaves and flowers, often while hovering momentarily.
4, sometimes 3-5. White with brown or black spots near large end. Incubation is by female only, 11-14 days. Frequently parasitized by cowbirds; rarely deters cowbirds by burying their eggs under a second floor of nest. Young: Nestlings are fed by both parents. Young leave the nest 10-12 days after hatching.
Nestlings are fed by both parents. Young leave the nest 10-12 days after hatching.
Mostly insects; also berries. In summer feeds mainly on insects, including caterpillars, moths, beetles, wasps, bees, ants, bugs, flies, walkingsticks, cicadas, treehoppers, scale insects; also some snails and spiders. Also eats many berries, especially in late summer, including those of Virginia creeper, sumac, elderberry, blackberry, dogwood, many other. In winter in the tropics, may feed heavily on berries and small fruit.
Male sings persistently throughout the day during the breeding season. In courtship, male displays to female with feathers sleeked down, swaying body and head from side to side; both birds then vibrate wings simultaneously. Nest: Placed usually 5-30' above the ground, sometimes 2-60' up, in deciduous shrub or sapling. Nest (built by female) is a compact, dainty cup, with its rim woven onto a horizontal forked twig. Made of strips of bark, grass stems, weeds, rootlets, spiderwebs, and cocoons.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates mostly at night. Peak migration periods in most areas are May and September. Those breeding in Northwest apparently move east in fall before turning south.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA series of short, musical, robin-like phrases endlessly repeated; like that of Blue-headed Vireo but faster and not so musical.
Learn more about this sound collection.
How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Red-eyed Vireo
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Red-eyed 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.