At a Glance

Tiny but tough, Verdins are adaptable little birds of hot desert regions. They are usually seen singly or in pairs, flitting about actively in the brush, sometimes giving sharp callnotes. The birds may build several nests per year, including new ones to sleep in on winter nights. These conspicuous, bulky stick nests may last for several seasons in the dry desert air, and often seem more numerous than the Verdins themselves.
Perching Birds, Verdins
Low Concern
Desert and Arid Habitats, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Urban and Suburban Habitats
California, Plains, Southwest, Texas
Direct Flight, Flitter, Hovering

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

Permanent resident.


4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Very small, mostly gray, long-tailed. Adults have some yellow on head, red on shoulder (often hidden). Juvenile plain gray; suggests Bushtit, but has pale bill base, different habitat and voice, and is never in flocks.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Black, Gray, Red, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Notched, Rounded, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

A sharp seep! or tsilip! frequently repeated. Its infrequent song is a 3-note kleep-er-zee! with the final note highest in pitch.
Call Pattern
Falling, Flat
Call Type
Chirp/Chip, Whistle


Brushy desert valleys, mesquites. Most common in Sonoran desert and mesquite woods at lower elevations. Also lives in other kinds of low open brush, including desert stands of acacia and paloverde, thickets of saltcedar, low riverside woods. Common in suburbs of some southwestern towns.



4-5, sometimes 3-6. Pale green to blue-green, with reddish brown dots often concentrated around larger end. Incubation is by female, reportedly about 10 days.


Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 21 days after hatching, but continue to return to nest to sleep at night.

Feeding Behavior

Forages actively in shrubs and low trees, mostly among smaller branches. Takes most of its food from leaf surfaces, sometimes hanging upside down to reach undersides of leaves. Often visits flowers for nectar, and will come to hummingbird feeders for sugar-water. Sometimes catches insects in the air, on the ground, or on the bark of branches.


Mostly insects. Feeds on many kinds of tiny insects, including aphids, caterpillars, scale insects, leafhoppers, beetle and wasp larvae, and many others. Small spiders are also important in diet. Eats berries, small fruits, and sometimes seeds; regularly takes nectar.


Male may build several nests, with female choosing one to use for raising the young. Nest: Placed well out on branches of thorny shrub or low tree, or in cholla cactus, usually 4-12' above the ground. Nest is a conspicuous hollow oval or sphere, surprisingly large for size of bird, made of thorny twigs. Entrance is low on one side; interior is well lined with feathers, grass, leaves, spiderwebs, for good insulation. Nests built late in spring tend to have entrance facing toward prevailing wind, may help cool the interior.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Despite their ability to adapt to urban areas, surveys suggest that Verdin populations have declined during recent decades.

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 Verdin. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Verdin

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.