Bird Database

Red-eyed Vireo

(Vireo olivaceus)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Long distance




Predation, Collisions, Habitat Loss

Conservation Actions

Maintain unfragmented forest blocks

Red-eyed Vireo

(Vireo olivaceus)

The Red-eyed Vireo is perhaps the most common songbird in New Hampshire’s hardwood forests. From up in the canopy, it sings its repetitive “see me, here-I-am” for hours on end and well into late summer. Because of this vocal tenacity, one old colloquial name for the species is “preacher bird.” The song is like those of our other vireo species (except the Warbling) and requires some practice to differentiate. The most similar song is that of the uncommon Philadelphia Vireo from the north country, and recent detailed analysis suggests that separating the two species may be impossible in many cases. Presumably the two vireos can tell each other apart, although at least one study suggested that they defend territories against each other – in which case the similarity would come in handy.

The abundance of the Red-eyed Vireo is likely tied to its broad habitat tolerance. Although it avoids pure conifer forests, this vireo will use most anything else, including regenerating timber harvests, alder thickets, and suburban parks. A common feature is a well-developed understory, which may explain why is often found near small openings in the forest canopy where extra light also more shrubs and saplings to grow.

Red-eyed Vireos build their nests in horizontal Y-shaped forks of a branch. The rim of the nest is flush with the branch with the cup hanging below like a small pouch. They typically cover the outside of the nest with thin strips of bark, leaf fragments, pieces of wasp nests, and other flat materials. It is lined with pine needles and fine grasses. Here the female lays 2-4 eggs and incubates them for 13 days. After another 10-12 days the young fledge and are fed by their parents for another two weeks. There are instances of fledglings still begging from adults a month after leaving the nest, but these are unusual and mostly ignored.

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.

Red-eyed 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