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Overview

Brief Summary

Vireo flavifrons

A medium-sized (5 inches) vireo, the Yellow-throated Vireo is most easily identified by its yellow breast, gray tail, gray wings with white wing bars, and olive-green back and head with conspicuous yellow eye-rings. This species may be separated from the Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus), which also has a yellow breast, by that species’ plain brownish-gray wings and tail. Male and female Yellow-throated Vireos are similar to one another in all seasons. The Yellow-throated Vireo breeds across much of the eastern United States and southern Canada. Within this range, this species is mostly absent as a breeding bird from northern New England, south Florida, and the western Gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas. Yellow-throated Vireos spend the winter from southern Mexico and the Bahamas south to northern South America. Yellow-throated Vireos breed in a variety of deciduous or mixed deciduous and evergreen woodland habitats. During the winter, this species may be found along the edges of tropical forests. Yellow-throated Vireos primarily eat small insects, but also eat small quantities of fruits and berries during the winter. In appropriate habitat, Yellow-throated Vireos may be seen foraging for food on leaves and branches at middle heights in the canopy. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a series of buzzing notes vaguely recalling portions of American Robin songs. Yellow-throated Vireos are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

  • Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
  • Rodewald, Paul G. and Ross D. James. 2011. Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/247
  • Vireo flavifrons. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012.
  • Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012.
  • eBird Range Map - Yellow-throated Vireo. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012.
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: southeastern Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, southern Ontario, southwestern Quebec, northern New Hampshire, and southwestern Maine south to eastern Texas, the Gulf coast, and central Florida, and west to central North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and west-central Texas (AOU 1998). The Breeding Bird Survey strata with the highest average counts were the heavily forested Cumberland Plateau and Blue Ridge Mountains. Highest abundances were in West Virginia and Virginia. NON-BREEDING: extreme southern Florida, casually in southern California and the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John), and central Mexico south to northern South America (mountains of Colombia, northern and western Venezuela), Trinidad, Tobago, Bahamas, Cuba; mainly in Middle America. No documented winter records in the eastern United States north of southern Florida (AOU 1998). MIGRATES: regularly through eastern North America east of the Rockies, Bermuda (rare), and eastern Mexico, casually through western North America from northern California, Nevada, eastern Colorado, and western Texas southward (AOU 1998). Casual or accidental north to central Saskatchewan, western Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Accidental in the Lesser Antilles, Tobago, Chacachacare Island, and the British Isles; sight reports for Idaho and Nebraska (AOU 1998).

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Range

E Canada to Gulf States; winters to Venezuela and West Indies.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 14 cm

Weight: 18 grams

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Diagnostic Description

The only spectacled vireo with bright yellow on the breast and throat only. It may be confused with Pine Warbler (DENDROICA PINUS) and Yellow-breasted Chat (ICTERIA VIRENS). The Pine Warbler has dusky streaks on its side and white tail spots. It also frequents pine woods, whereas this vireo is almost always seen in deciduous trees. The Yellow-breasted Chat lacks wing bars, is larger, and has a much longer tail. The Chat also is seldom seen away from dense thickets (Peterson 1980, Bent 1950).

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: BREEDING: Primarily open deciduous forest and woodland, riparian woodland, tall floodplain forest, lowland swamp forest, and less frequently, mixed forest; also orchards, groves, roadside trees. Most abundant in mature woods but also occurs in medium-aged forests and some pioneer stands; requires a high, partially open canopy and prefers woods with an intermediate tree density or basal area (Bushman and Therres 1988). Apparently has a relatively low tolerance to forest fragmentation, though this may depend on forest quality and proximity to other forested areas. Nests usually in the canopy of a deciduous tree, in horizontal twig fork, usually more than 6 m above ground (Harrison 1978).

NON-BREEDING: In migration and winter also in various forest, woodland, second growth, and mangrove habitats. In migration in more open areas and low scrub (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Migrates to U.S. breeding areas in March-April (Terres 1980). Arrives in Costa Rica as early as mid-September but more regularly in October; remains through late April (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Uncommon migrant and winter resident in Colombia, mainly early December-late March (Hilty and Brown 1986), or November-April (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats mainly insects, also some fruits; forages among foliage in tops of trees (Terres 1980). Gleans prey from foliage or bark (Bushman and Therres 1988). Consumes eggs and caterpillars of moths and butterflies, adult moths, stink bugs, assassin bugs, scale insects, aphids, leafhoppers, beetles, sawflies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, cicadas, mosquitoes, and midges. Will also eat sassafras berries and wild grapes (Terres 1980). Foraging techniques consist primarily of stalking (James 1973) deliberately, searching above and below for food, rather than moving rapidly from perch to perch. This bird tends to forage in the taller trees within a habitat, however it will primarily use the lower strata of these trees (James 1979, 1973).

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General Ecology

Solitary in winter, probably territorial (Stiles and Skutch 1989). This bird is usually solitary or in interspecific flocks (Bent 1950). Reported as common cowbird host in some areas, but in other areas, even where both species are numerous, the vireo is relatively unparasitized. Has been known to successfully rear cowbirds to fledgling stage (Friedmann 1963). Occasionally buries cowbird eggs in nest lining, if it has no eggs of its own. Specific information on additional nest predators has not been located.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 6.1 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Nests from mid-April to late July (peak mid-May to late June) in the mid-Atlantic region (Bushman and Therres 1988). Clutch size 3-5 (usually 4). Incubation 14-15 days, by both sexes. Young tended by both parents, leave nest at about 15 days. Fledglings are independent in about four weeks, but remain with parents until August (Terres 1980, Harrison 1975, James 1973, Bent 1950). Males establish territories before mating occurs.

Male nest displays are apparently important to attracting mates (James 1978). Once paired, activities are confined to a smaller area than the unmated male's territory. Nest construction begins within 24 hours of pairing and takes eight days; the first egg laid on the ninth day. Both sexes participate in nest construction, although females are dominant at the nest (James 1973). Very sensitive to observations by humans during early nest building or searches. Nests or even mates will be deserted if an observer approaches within 50 m. Once nests are half built pairs will not desert when approached. Most nests are built in the upper halves of deciduous trees; mean nest heights were found to be above mean foraging heights (James 1973).

Sutton (1949) records rearing of two broods per season. No renesting unless the first clutch destroyed (James 1973). Both parents share in feeding and brooding of young. After brooding ceases, parents are intolerant of observers (James 1973). Prior to this time, Bent (1950) reports that this vireo "... is a close and steadfast sitter, allowing close approach and even handling...". Sutton (1949) reports that the male occasionally sings at all hours throughout the summer and frequently sings on the nest.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vireo flavifrons

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNCCGGATAGTAGGTACCGCCCTAAGCCTCCTAATCCGAGCAGAACTAGGCCAACCCGGAGCCCTTCTGGGAGACGACCAAATTTACAATGTAATCGTCACGGCCCACGCCTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATGCCAATCATGATCGGAGGGTTCGGCAACTGACTAGTCCCTCTAATGATTGGAGCCCCAGACATGGCATTCCCTCGAATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTACCACCATCATTCCTACTCCTAATAGCCTCATCAGCAGTAGAAGCAGGGGCCGGAACCGGATGAACCGTATACCCACCACTAGCTGGAAACCTAGCCCACGCCGGAGCCTCAGTAGACCTGGCTATCTTCTCCCTACACCTGGCAGGTATCTCGTCTATTCTAGGGGCAATTAACTTCATTACAACCGCAATCAACATAAAACCACCCGCTCTCTCACAATATCAAACACCACTGTTCGTGTGATCCGTCCTAATTACAGCCGTACTACTACTACTATCTCTCCCAGTACTAGCTGCCGGTATCACTATGCTACTCACAGACCGCAACCTCAACACTACCTTCTTTGACCCAGCAGGAGGAGGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vireo flavifrons

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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