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Bell's Vireo

Silhouette VireosVireos
Bell's VireoVireo bellii
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Vireonidae

Basic Description

A tireless little bird of thickets and thorn scrub, the Bell’s Vireo nests from the Midwest to the Southwest and into northern Mexico. Though plain in plumage, males sing so energetically and distinctively that overlooking them during the breeding season is difficult. Nevertheless, with the loss of their preferred habitats across the continent, the species has become scarce in many places where it was once common.

More ID Info
image of range map for Bell's Vireo
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Bell’s Vireos in shrubby, scrubby habitats such as young forests, stands of dense brush on the prairies, verdant arroyos, and mesquite woods. On an early summer morning, listen for the male’s frequent, rollicking song, and coax the sprite into sight with a little pishing, if necessary. The plain plumage can be confusing in its similarity to warblers, but watch for this bird’s frequent “joystick” tail movements.

Other Names

  • Vireo de Bell (Spanish)
  • Viréo de Bell (French)

Backyard Tips

Letting a corner of your yard become overgrown—with hedgerows, brambles, or brush piles—is a great way to attract all sorts of songbirds, both year-round residents and regular migrants. Bell’s Vireos would be most likely to appear in just such a messy-looking spot.

  • Cool Facts