Thursday, February 19

Vireo songs

The Red-eyed Vireo has a repertoire of about 30 songs. It is a persistent singer and is one of the few birds to be heard singing in the heat of the day in summer (May, PA).

The pace of the phrase delivery varies (6.45am, May, RI).

Red-eyed Vireos are known to incorporate notes of other species into their songs. This individual included a Carolina Wren-like phrase and an Eastern Wood-Pewee call in its repertoire.
(July, PA).

Carolina Wren-like phrase at 14s (center)

Eastern Wood-Pewee call at 20s (center)

The Blue-headed Vireo song differs in having higher pitched, sweeter phrases, and as with the Red-eyed Vireo, consecutive phrases are different, known as immediate variety. Each male has a repertoire of up to 20 phrases (July, ME).

Occasionally a more extended "rambling" song is sung (July, ME).

time scale reduced

Blue-headed Vireos are often heard singing during fall migration. In many cases these are probably young birds learning to sing (Oct, PA).

(Oct, NJ).

The Purple Finch sings a similar song in fall migration that could be a source of confusion (Oct, PA).

The Warbling Vireo is another persistent singer, so much so that the male sings on the nest, a habit unusual among birds as it might attract attention to the nest site. This species is doing well in New Jersey and is extending its breeding range southwards (May, NJ).

Unlike most species, Warbling Vireos continue to sing into September until they migrate south.
(Sep, NJ).

Western Warbling Vireos have a subtly different song (July, CO).

The Yellow-throated Vireo sings from high in trees and, like the Scarlet Tanager, sounds like it has a sore throat. Each male's repertoire consists of up to 8 songs (May, ND).

(June, NJ).

The emphatic song of the White-eyed Vireo is generally heard low down in damp undergrowth. Each male has a repertoire of about 12 phrases, each usually repeated a number of times before switching to another, known as eventual variety. The song is comprised largely of alarm calls of other species (see Mimicry II : The White-eyed Vireo).
Two examples:
(Apr, NJ)

(May, NJ)

Sometimes White-eyed Vireos forsake eventual variety and switch from one song to another, as in this example (June, NJ).

song 1 and 6

song 2,4 and 5

song 3

song 7

song 8

Song combined with alarm calls (June, NJ).

The White-eyed Vireo often launches into an extended song, the rambling song (see The White-eyed Vireo rambling song). This song is made up of the alarm calls of other species breeding at the same location, including Brown Thrasher, Blue Grosbeak, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Gray Catbird, Hooded Warbler, Carolina Wren, Northern Flicker, American Robin, House Wren, Wood Thrush, Red-Eyed Vireo, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow Warbler and Eastern Chipmunk (June, NJ).


bv said...

I was mystified by this odd song a few days ago in Warren Co, VA. I patiently tracked him down and saw that this mysterious songster was a red-eyed vireo. To my ears that have been listening to REVis for 50 years, it sounds nothing like a red-eyed vireo. This eBird link has the iphone recording.

Paul Driver said...

That reminded me of an anomalous Red-eyed Vireo I recorded a couple of years ago. I just posted it.