Red-Eyed Vireo

Vireo olivaceus

The Red-Eyed Vireo breeds extensively across Canada and eastern North America and migrates to South America’s Amazon basin in winter.

Today’s science suggests two subspecies of Red-Eyed Vireo in North America:

  • V. o. olivaceus breeds across most of Canada.
  • V. o. caniviridis breeds in western USA’s Great Basin and the northwest, including Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

There is a population of Red-Eyed Vireos that remains as residents in South America. I believe this subspecies was V. o. chivi, which is now reclassified as its own species, the Chivi Vireo (Vireo chivi), and has nine subspecies of its own.

Red-Eyed Vireos are prolific singers. One observer noted a bird that sang 22,197 songs over a 14 hour period, pausing only four hours during the day. Some listeners find these songs monotonous, which is typical of many vireos. Their songs are a blend of phrases ending with up-slurs followed by a phrase with a down-slur, and reminds us of an endless conversation with questions, followed by answers.

My introduction to the Red-Eyed Vireo occurred at Lesser Slave Lake in Alberta (Canada) while I was heading to Alaska in 2005. I didn’t meet this bird again until I was in south Texas during spring migration in 2021. But in 2022, I journeyed through Canada, where I had many meetings, and got to know them well, especially in northern Alberta and British Columbia.

Range Map for Red-Eyed Vireo
Range Map

29 Photos

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