The Plumbeous, Blue-headed,
and the Cassin's Vireo were all considered one species, the Solitary Vireo,
until the 1990's. The Plumbeous is the component of the three that summers
in the mountain forests of the inland West. It is much less colorful
than the other two, appearing lead-gray in all but the freshest of fall
plumage, when just a touch of yellow may be visible.
Habitat: Found in pine and pine-oak forests of the
mountain West, sometimes at elevations approaching 10,000 feet.
Diet: Primarily feeds on insects and spiders. They will
also consume fruits and berries, especially during the winter months.
Behavior: Climbs through foliage and branches in
search of insects, usually relatively high in the forest canopy. Will
also occasionally fly out from a perch to snag flying insects in mid-air.
Nesting: Late May through July
Breeding Map: Breeding
map available is for "Solitary Vireo", the former combined name
for the Cassin's, Blue-headed, and Plumbeous Vireos. Note that the
Plumbeous is the only one of the three that is considered to nest in South
Dakota, so the breeding map for the Solitary Vireo effectively defines the South
Dakota breeding range for the Plumbeous.
Song: Varied song with deliberate pauses, often repeating.
Migration: Summers throughout pine and oak forests
of the mountain West. Winters in the extreme southwestern U.S.,
Mexico, and Central America.
Conservation Status: They are quite frequent hosts to cowbird parasitism, but
populations are considered stable.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Plumbeous Vireo"
Photo Information: Photo courtesy of