Philadelphia Vireo

Vireo philadelphicus
Philadelphia Vireo specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A small (4 ¾ inches) vireo, the Philadelphia Vireo is most easily identified by its olive-green back and tail, yellowish breast, plain wings, and dark eyes with white eye-stripes. This species may be separated from the Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus), which also has a pale breast and plain back, by that species’ larger size and paler breast. Male and female Philadelphia Vireos are similar to one another in all seasons. The Philadelphia Vireo primarily breeds across southern and southeastern Canada. Smaller numbers breed south of the United States border, mainly in the upper Midwest, northern New England, and upstate New York. This species is a long-distance migrant, spending the winter in Central America. Philadelphia Vireos breed in a number of semi-open woodland habitats, particularly along woodland edges and clearings. During the winter, this species may be found in similarly-structured habitats in and around humid tropical forests. Philadelphia Vireos primarily eat small insects during the summer, but also eat small quantities of fruits and berries during the winter. In appropriate habitat, Philadelphia Vireos may be seen foraging for food on leaves and branches high in the tree canopy. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a series of fluty notes similar to but somewhat higher-pitched than that of the Red-eyed Vireo. Philadelphia Vireos are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

DC Information

Rare migrant found in deciduous forests in May and September. Sexes are similar.

Specimen Information

This is likely the record for the bird on the upper branch.
Date:  9/20/1884
Collected By:  R Ridgway
Locality:  Gainsville, VA
Sex:  Female
Catalog ID:  100015

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalization

Sound from xeno-canto. XC70103 Vireo philadelphicus (Philadelphia Vireo)