Bright Cassin’s Vireo

[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2012] – I found and photographed this brightly colored Cassin’s Vireo Vireo cassinii in the Silver Gate neighborhood of Point Loma, San Diego. The vireo was feeding close around me in garden trees, along with Orange-crowned and Townsend’s Warblers, as a light rainy drizzle began to fall. You can actually see the tiny rain drops in the first photograph. It’s brightly colored plumage, evidently freshly molted, made me look carefully through the photographs.

Although it has a light grey head and greenish back, it does not have the striking contrasted look that might be expected from the more solidly colored Blue-headed Vireo. I also noticed another field character, first suggested by Don Roberson, that the dark grey loral line, interrupting the eye ring at the front, is actually quite darker than the crown and auricular coloration. This seems to be a characteristic which can be used to confidently separate bright individuals of Cassin’s Vireo from Blue-headed Vireo.

Cassin’s Vireo can be found in San Diego County at all seasons but is generally uncommon. Individuals are regularly encountered during the winter months at favored wooded locations along the coastal belt. The species is also believed to breed scarcely at higher elevations in mountain ranges of the county, above 4000 feet, where it can sometimes be detected in summer.

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6 thoughts on “Bright Cassin’s Vireo

  1. I was hoping that you might donate a picture of the brightly colored Cassin’s Vireo above to my free online “Birds of Vancouver Island” at the website above. I am. however, hoping to have this 3-year old project published in book form and will not receive any monies from the project IF it goes ahead. Please write and let me know.

    Keith Taylor
    Victoria BC

    • Hi Keith, sure please go ahead and use the Cassin’s Vireo image from my blog page that you requested. Please make sure that Gary Nunn is credited in the publication, that’s all! Thanks for your request, always happy to help! Gary.

  2. Hi Gary, I’m writing an article for our local bird society magazine Nova Scotia Birds on a couple of potential Cassin’s Vireo sightings from fall 2014. Your photos of bright fall CAVI would be very helpful to use as a reference. Would it be possible to publish one or two of your photos in this article? Full credit would be given in the caption. Thanks!

    • Hi Bruce, I think I already replied to you about the Cassin’s Vireo photos. Sure, go ahead and use the photos. Please credit me in the caption. Thanks so much!


  3. Greetings,

    You have some wonderful images! Redwood Audubon Society is producing a bird guide book, and we’d like to use 1 of your images if you’d be willing to donate its use? We’d like to use your Cassin’s Vireo if possible. We will, of course, give you a photo credit and list your website.

    Thank you very much!

    Leslie Scopes Anderson

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