Vireos are small to medium-sized birds that are found in the New World and Southeast Asia. The word "Vireo" is a latin word and means green migratory bird. They like to look for food in trees and bushes and are often looking for insects or berries.
A Warbling Vireo sitting in a tree on Virginius Island.
Warbling Vireo sitting in a tree on Virginius Island.
© Bill Telfair

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

• Warbling Vireos love to eat caterpillars, pupae, and adult moths and butterflies. And they hunt for their food by hovering, stalking, hawking, and flycatching.
• Male Warbling Vireos are very territorial and protective. They spend most of their time during the breeding season singing.
• Brown-headed Cowbirds tend to dump their own eggs into the nests of Warbling Vireos. Sometimes the vireos will take care of the cowbird eggs but sometimes the female vireos will puncture and toss out the eggs that are not her own.

Identification Information

• Size: Sparrow sized or smaller (Small)
• Color: Warbling Vireos are a gray/dull green on their backs and feathers and a whitish yellow on their bellies. They have a dark line through their eyes and a white line over their eyes.
Male White-eyed Vireo sitting on a tree branch at Schoolhouse Ridge North. These birds are yellow and gray but are distinguishable by their white eye.
Male White-eyed Vireo at Schoolhouse Ridge North.
© Bill Telfair

White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)

• White-eyed Vireos take baths by rubbing their bodies against dewy foliage in the early mornings.
• They love to eat caterpillars, flies, beetles, moths, lacewings, and spirders.
• White-eyed Vireos forage (look for food) in a very specific way. They slowly hop along and look around before grabbing something to eat. Smaller prey items they will swallow immediately, but larger prey they like to pin down with their foot before eating it.
• To build their nests White-eyed Vireos collect insect silk, spiderwebs, and attach it to a Y-shaped fork. They then collect sticks, leaves, bark, and other plant fibers to stick into the spider web shell.

Identification Information

• Size: Sparrow sized or smaller (Extra Small/Small)
• Color: This vireo has a white eye surrounded by a yellow ring. Their sides are a light yellow, they have a gray head and a white belly and throat.
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 16, 2019

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

Contact Us