Friday, 19 November 2010

Red-eyed vireo

Vireo olivaceus

Photo by Brian Small (Brian E. Small Bird Photography)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Vireonidae

Part of the population breeds across Canada and the eastern and north-western United States and migrates south to winter across most of the north and eastern portions of South America. There are also some resident populations in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The red-eyed vireo is 12-14 cm long and has a wingspan of 23-25 cm. These birds weigh up to 26 g.

They breed in deciduous and mixed deciduous forests, being specially abundant in the interior of the forests. They also live in urban areas and parks with large trees. They winter in virtually any wooded habitat within their range.

The red-eyed vireo hunts for insects in tree foliage, favouring caterpillars and aphids. They also eat berries, especially before migration, and in the winter quarters, where trees bearing popular fruit like tamanqueiro Alchornea glandulosa or gumbo-limbo Bursera simaruba will even attract them to parks and gardens. The birds will often reach for the fruits acrobatically, even hanging upside down.

The nest is an open cup suspended from a forked tree branch, made of twigs, bark strips, grasses, pine needles, and lichen held together with spider web. Clutch size is typically 3-4 eggs, and incubation lasts for 11 to 14 days. Both the male and female feed the young for the 10 to 12 days before fledging. The female, and perhaps the male, continue to feed the young for up to two weeks after they leave the nest.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
With an estimated population of 140 million and an extremely large range, this species is not threatened at present.

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