|Species: Hutton’s Vireo
Hutton’s Vireo is
one of five species of small vireos with wing bars found in North
America (the others being Bell’s, Black-capped, White-eyed and
Thick-billed), but it is mostly confined to the Pacific coast west
of the Cascades and Sierras, and the only one of these likely to be
seen in the Vancouver area. It closely resembles Ruby-crowned
Kinglet and some Empidonax flycatchers and must be carefully
distinguished on the basis of voice, details of plumage, bill size,
It is an uncommon, active small bird of mixed and deciduous woodland
and shrubbery, frequently in oak woods and in mixed foraging flocks.
General: A small
drab olive vireo with two white wing bars. Male and female similar.
Strikingly similar in size and plumage to Ruby-crowned Kinglet on
account of the similar colour, two white wing bars, and white eye
ring. Distinguished from it by noticeably thicker bill with
discernable hook, somewhat stockier build, larger head, incomplete
eye ring broken by a dark area above the eye, and a whitish streak
from base of bill to eye (lores).
Length 11-12 cm.Upper parts dull olive becoming greenish olive on
rump. Wings and tail dusky with olive edging. Under parts dull buffy
olive, becoming whitish on abdomen. Two whitish bars on the wings.
The pale lower wing bar does not have a black streak below compared
with Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Activity more deliberate than
Ruby-crowned Kinglet and it does not continually twitch its wings
like this species does. Definitive identification based on voice.
Generally similar to adult, but wing bars less distinct.
In the Pacific region only likely to be confused with
Ruby-crowned Kinglet or Empidonax flycatchers, but latter have more
upright stance, different activity and have complete eye rings.
Forages deliberately, vireo-like, in woodland and shrubbery for
insects and grubs. Solitary, or in mixed flocks of small songbirds
such as chickadees or kinglets.
Woodland and shrubbery, preferring oak woods where present and
Douglas-fir under story.
In Canada, it is
restricted to Southwestern British Columbia west of the Coast
Mountains, including Vancouver Island, where it is a permanent
resident. A second separate but related population exists in
South-central US from Arizona, Texas, through Mexico to Guatemala.
The species name was given in 1851 by John Cassin, Philadelphia
ornithologist, for William Hutton, a field collector of birds, about
whom little is known.
The male sings
constantly during the breeding season to defend the nesting
territory. The song is a rising or descending ch-weet ch-weet,
repeated continuously in paired notes, the second note either higher
or lower than the first. The call is a low chit or whit, whit, or
kip, kip, kip.
The nest is a hanging cup built 6-25 feet above ground, usually in
oak but sometimes in conifer trees. There are usually 3-4 eggs,
which are white with brown specks at the larger end. Both parents
incubate the eggs for 14-16 days. Both parents feed the young which
leave the nest from 14-17 days after hatching. Occasionally there
are two broods each year.
The Hutton's Vireo is currently rated
as Least Concern and it is thought populations are stable or
possibly increasing slightly. The estimated population is around 2
million individual birds and there are currently no known threats
facing the species at this time.
A year round resident of British Columbia's coastal areas,
the Hutton’s Vireo prefers mixed evergreen forests as found
on the perimeter of Colony Farm Regional Park. Therefore,
Hutton's Vireo are rarely seen at the banding station as
reflected by the capture of few individuals in September and
zero capture rate for the remainder of the year. Capture
rates are standardized as birds captured per 100 net hours
from 2010 - 2012.