Bird Database

Blue-headed Vireo

(Vireo solitarius)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Short distance




Predation, Collisions, Habitat Loss

Conservation Actions

Maintain unfragmented forest blocks

Blue-headed Vireo

(Vireo solitarius)

Old field guides may still refer to this species as the “Solitary Vireo,” but the Blue-headed Vireo of Canada and the eastern United States was split off from two similar western forms in the late 1990s. As one of the more northern vireos it uses conifer habitats far more often than all other species, although it will also use pure hardwood stands. In New Hampshire it can be found statewide, although it is much less common in the lowlands of the southeast. In the southern portion of its range in the state it is mostly likely in forests that contain some hemlocks.

The Blue-headed Vireo winters farther north than any other vireo of eastern North America. It can be found reliably as close as eastern Virginia and may be getting more common in the mid-Atlantic states. There are only three winter records for New Hampshire, all from December and presumably late-departing migrants. This is the most likely vireo to see seen locally into late fall, although most are gone by mid-October. It is also the earliest to return, with exceptional records during the first week of April.

Blue-headed Vireos sing the 2-3 note whistled song typical of most vireos. The phrases are typically both longer and more spaced than those of the similar Red-eyed Vireo and are often described as being somewhat more musical (or “sweeter”). Another common call is a harsh chatter that can be described as an “evil laugh,” and which is typically given during aggressive encounters. This is the call you’re likely to hear during fall migration, when Blue-headed Vireos often associate with mixed flocks of warblers and chickadees as they move through the woods. Sometimes this is even the first clue that such a flock is in the vicinity.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Blue-headed Vireo
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count