This plain, gray-backed vireo of arid mountains has a narrow white eye-ring but differs from other vireos with eye-rings by having no wing bars
or only one faint bar. Though drab, it has character, flopping its tail like a gnatcatcher.
Brushy mountain slopes, mesas, open chaparral, scrub oak, junipers. Breeds in dry thorn scrub, chaparral, pinyon-juniper and oak-juniper scrub, or sagebrush and mesquites of arid foothills and mesas, between 3,000-
6,500 elevation. In winter, in northwest Mexico, found near coast in dry thorn scrub of elephant trees and giant cacti.
Insects and fruits.
During the breeding season, feeds mostly on insects, including beetles, caterpillars, small moths, bugs, treehoppers, tree crickets, dobsonflies, cicadas, grasshoppers, and many others. In winter, eats many berries, especially those of elephant trees, in
addition to insects.
Behavior: Usually forages within 5 of the grou
nd, moving about actively in brush on dry slopes, seeking insects on the twigs and among the foliage. Also does some foraging on the ground. In winter, individuals defend feeding territories, driving away others of their own kind.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
Male defends nesting territory by singing through much of breeding season.
Nest: Placed in shrub, frequently oak or juniper, 1-12 from ground, but most commonly 2-8 up. Nest is supported by the rim woven onto a horizontal forked twig, with the bottom of the nest hangin
g suspended in midair. Nest (built by both male and female) is a deep, rounded cup made of weeds, shreds of bark, grass stems, leaves, and plant fibers; bound with spider webs and lined with fine grass.
Clutch 4, sometimes 3-5. Pinkish white with brown specks scattered near large end. Incubation by both parents, 13-
14 days. Cowbirds frequently lay eggs in nests of this species. Gray Vireos will sometimes deal with such parasitism by constructing second floor of nest over cowbird eggs.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest 13-14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year.
Southwestern United States to northwestern Mexico. Migration: A short-distance migrant, wintering mainly in northwestern Mexico, a few in southwestern Arizona.
- spanwidth min.: 19 cm
- spanwidth max.: 22 cm
- size min.: 13 cm
- size max.: 15 cm
- incubation min.: 13 days
- incubation max.: 14 days
- fledging min.: 13 days
- fledging max.: 14 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 3
- eggs max.: 5
- Conservation Status