Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hutton’s Vireo

A fancy bird in my banding net yesterday—a Hutton’s Vireo. The species looks like a kinglet, but note the stocky, hooked bill. The drab plumage and incomplete eye ring both suggest Hutton’s Vireo. This vireo is an uncommon resident in Washington, and ranges south across the Pacific Coast to Baja California and in the Southwestern United States south through central Mexico. I have only seen the species once before, over 50 years ago in Mexico.

Because they are drab and inconspicuous, the biology of Hutton’s Vireos is little known. Even the bird’s call is described as “persistent but insipid” (Davis 2018). Some populations, such as those in the Southwest, are migratory. Resident, non-migratory birds, like those in Washington, may wander locally, but these movements have been little studied.  Davis suggests that the Hutton’s Vireos of the Pacific Coast and Mexico differ sufficiently genetically as to warrant being considered separate species.

1 comment:

  1. Dan, there are also some very suggestive vocal differences between the Black-capped Chickadees of the southern Salish Sea region and other areas. In particular, many of them sing a four note song.