White-eyed Vireo

Vireo griseus
A White-eyed Vireo specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A medium-sized (5 inches) vireo, the White-eyed Vireo is most easily identified by its olive-green back and tail, pale breast with yellow flanks, white wing bars, and striking white eyes with yellow eye-rings. This species may be separated from its tropical relative, the Thick-billed Vireo (Vireo crassirostris), by that species’ darker wings, greener body, and thicker bill. Male and female White-eyed Vireos are similar to one another in all seasons. The White-eyed Vireo breeds in the eastern United States, where it occurs from Massachusetts south to Florida and west to Texas, as well as in northeastern Mexico. During the winter, northerly-breeding populations winter from the Bahamas south to northern Central America. Populations breeding in the southern part of this species’ breeding range are non-migratory. White-eyed Vireos breed in areas of thick brush and scrub, particularly along forest edges, in bushy fields, and in thick dune vegetation. Populations which migrate to the tropics for the winter utilize similar types of habitat as they do during the summer. White-eyed Vireos primarily eat small insects, but also eat small quantities of fruits and berries during the winter. White-eyed Vireos spend much of their time foraging for food on leaves and branches in dense brush, where they are often difficult to see. Birdwatchers may alternatively listen for this species’ song, a rapid “chick-a-per-weeoo-chick.” White-eyed Vireos are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

DC Information

Common summer resident, arriving early April and leaving by early October. Found in swampy shrublands and hedgerows, also abandoned fields in agricultural areas. Breeds from early May to late July. Sexes are alike.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC58492 Vireo griseus (White-eyed Vireo)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC17026 Vireo griseus (White-eyed Vireo)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC28782 Vireo griseus (White-eyed Vireo)