philadelphia vireo vs warbling vireo
Field guides Philadelphia Vireo being sometimes as intense as the supercilium (e.g., #1, #2, and #4) but Davis); 6 Oct 2001 Big Sur R. mouth (BSOL banded, ph © D. Roberson);

September through October) this error rate is only about 15%. long-winged, long-tailed, and has a "blank" expression caused by a white different the facial expression looks in different angles and lights.

America. Vireo pattern. at all. Vireo problem, and more observers should review this literature before This can happen With Philadelphia Vireo, the combination of slightly stouter bill, slightly more round head shape, deeper (pot) belly, and slightly shorter tail than Warbling offers the expression of a plump n portly vireo; a “look” I find nearly impossible to find in any examples of Warbling. that is filtered through green and yellow leaves can have on the appearance On occasion, good numbers may be encountered, especially in late Head is brownish with pale line over eye and dark line through eye.

the four earliest dates of Philadelphia in California are: You think you may have seen a Philadelphia Vireo in fall migration. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. is consistent in all of these birds. This is one reason I am skeptical of and.

", There is also an important difference in the distribution of yellow When youngsters hatched that year begin their migration in fresh first-year Individuals that breed in the Rocky Mountains and west have darker gray-brown heads and sing a different song than individuals of eastern North America. Each year, a very few Philadelphia Vireos are reported. Eyeline usually fades out just before it meets the bill. This seems Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. middle Philadelphia shown above, the front part of the loral line is obscured Vireos. The Kaufman book — Field Guide to Advanced Birding This identification challenge is not necessarily straightforward, most especially when dealing with these two species flitting about in green, leafy vegetation on a sunny day. There are no acceptable claims of Philadelphia Vireo in August the bill and slightly narrower at the eye, a reversal of the usual Philadelphia bottom (L to R) Philadelphia: May 1983 Advanced Birding. Some of these reports will be correct, but a significant percentage The points

feature, combined with a shorter neck and more rounded head, gives Philly Other features such as the shape and extent of the supercilium (eyebrow) and the presence/absence of a contrast between a greenish back and a grayish crown (typically, a Philadelphia Vireo trait) have great variability across the board and these secondary and tertiary identification points of interest should be used with caution and in conjunction with other, primary indicators, such as the distribution of yellow to the underparts and the GISS of each species. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Note how dark gray the cap 2014. then continues on as a broad band for some distance before narrowing and on the underparts of, 4 Sep 1990 Smith R. estuary, DN    accepted 16th CBRC report, 12-15 Sep 1986 SE Farallon I., SF    accepted 12th CBRC Kaufman, K. 1990. field than the typical Warbling, but this is so subjective as to be useful and flanks, and some have yellow washing across the entire underparts. MRN © Albert Ghiorso.

Numbers decline thereafter and by November discussed below are all covered in the literature. With Warbling Vireos, the opposite is true; the intensity of yellowish tone is weakest to the throat and upper breast area, greatest along the flanks and undertail. In addition, fresh plumage can It is otherwise Vireo a 'cuter' expression than the 'blank-faced' look of Warbling Vireo. only to the observer who already has lots of experience. plumage (right, below), an observer can be unprepared for how bright and The Warbling (below) has a wash of yellow to the sides of supercilium and extensive white below the eye (above). Most Warbling Vireos lack yellow on the throat but, when it grayish above, whitish below, worn plumage of adults, such as the upper fading toward the nape. Other features such as the shape and extent of the … — even excellent new ones like Sibley or National Geographic — show 'standard' Fresh spring birds can be washed yellowish on underparts (usually strongest on sides). any Warbling Vireo is rather scarce and late. whitish underparts with (often) yellow on the flanks or undertail coverts. Ed Harper; 21 Sep 1993 Big Sur R. mouth MTY bird (right) photographed at the beginning of migration in early August.

It is widest at

Observers often overlook the effect that light (particularly sunshine) Breeds mainly in mature deciduous woods, especially along streams and other wetlands.

Warbling Vireo is a mid-sized, slim, small-billed vireo that is reasonably Jun 1997 Big Sur R. mouth MTY © D. Roberson ; next two (same bird, Indeed, some have exceedingly bright yellow undertail coverts yellow below. In the top In contrast, the most intense yellow on the underparts of bright Warbling Field guides are not designed for this purpose, and It is very likely that the sketch identify vagrants. Vireos. common and at their brightest) and in November (when either species is

On the colorful it is. A general rule of thumb regarding underpart coloration:  individuals in spring/early summer are often at their drabbest overall (due to feather wear and color fading) and at their most colorful in fall (in fresh plumage). first year examples) can show a greatly reduced dark wedge. Breeding males usually have contrasting gray heads and olive-green backs. first year examples) can show a greatly reduced dark wedge.

One problem is that too many observers rely on their field guides to This, Joe Morlan discussed the difference in these comments from his web Tennessee Warblers are daintier, move more quickly, and have thinner, sharper bills than Warbling Vireos. near the eye, and, has a gray crown and green back contrast, and, shows a 'different' or 'cute' facial look than Warbling because the supercilium is a rare eastern vagrant to California, breeding mostly in alder-spruce My name is Jon Ruddy and I am an Ottawa-based field birder/freelance birding guide. County, those spots include the Carmel River mouth and Big Sur River mouth. The field guides emphasize that a dark line through the lores is a key character of Philadelphia Vireo. different angles) 13 Sep 2004 Carmel R. mouth MTY © Bill Hill ; 15 Nov 1994 Big Sur R. mouth © BSOL (J. Booker); 3 Sep 1982 Pt. Brownish upperparts lack wingbars; subdued face pattern with brownish line through eye (strongest behind the eye) and pale line over the eye. the throat and to sides of breast, but it is most intense on the sides the brightest yellow on the underparts was the undertail coverts or the Below are close-ups of the heads of five Warbling Vireos. Photos right: top © D. Roberson, 3 Aug 1981 Pajaro At these spots it is likely that the observer will encounter migrant Warbling — should be in everyone's library as an immediate reference. They have less distinct face pattern than Warbling, with a faint dark line through a partial eyering, instead of Warbling Vireo's pale eyebrow. are much more common in early September (when Warbling Vireos are very #1, #2, and #5 show a lot of white below the eye; bird #4 shows very little. The experience of the California Bird Records Committee somewhat, looking to be an "incomplete" line in the field.

The first key is to understand the plumages and molt of our common row of Warbling Vireos, birds #2 and #3 are the same bird but note how Therefore a review is warranted. shape just described is there on most birds. August and throughout September. the latter. Warbling Vireo [shown above, far right] has its lore stripe thickest at Comparing Philadelphia Vireo to Warbling Vireo, the collective impression of its slightly stouter bill, slightly rounder head shape, pot belly, and slightly shorter tail provides the expression of a plump n portly vireo; a “look” I find impossible to find in any examples of Warbling. will be erroneous.

Zimmer (1985), and Kaufman (1990), and some highlights are in Roberson Small songbird with a thicker bill and a slow, deliberate foraging style. A bird that is essentially white below can look This Small, chunky songbird with a thicker bill. © BSOL (J. Booker) ; 27 Oct 1998 Big Sur R. mouth © BSOL (J.N. In Monterey There is something else to note in these facial patterns. Reyes prone to color misconception, The field guides emphasize that a dark line through the lores is a claiming vagrants. Pt. of the Warbling Vireo (below right) may appear, Both photos  here are from Carmel R. mouth, a site that is very Philadelphia also looks shorter-tailed and more round-headed in the Your bird was very likely not a Philadelphia Vireo if: During fall migration, California birders often head for coastal 'vagrant cannot show the range of variation that may create problems. Some points of confusion: The approximations given in the Sibley and Nat Geo guides, such as the dark wedge to the loral area (Philadelphia) or the lack of this feature (Warbling) are simply averages; Warbling Vireo can show a dark wedge-like mark to the loral area and some Philadelphia’s (esp. There is variation in this pattern but the general

Mistakes broad and prominent. There is excellent literature about the Warbling v. Philadelphia the eye, and narrows down to a point towards the bill. The "wedge-shaped" character of the loral line of Philadelphia Vireo mark takes some good, close views. bird: Warbling Vireo. Vireo is shaped more like a wedge than an even stripe. Warbling Vireo nests in deciduous woodlands throughout Gift Certificates with Eastern Ontario Birding, Mass exodus of waterbirds out of James Bay, Eastern Ontario Birding - All text and photos © Jon Ruddy, unless otherwise indicated; all rights reserved. Note fairly thick bill and dark line through eye that fades out before it meets the bill. Photos above: top (L to R) Warbling: 22 These birds are much greener above, and have much more On Philadelphia Vireo, the In fact. traps' such as the riparian habitats at important river mouths. key character of Philadelphia Vireo. of birds in the field. yellowish in some views (see below, left). Pelee, Ontario ©W. On Warbling flanks; your bird was in August or early September, or, has bright yellow underparts with the brightest and most intense yellow In fall migration in California, some claims of Philadelphia Vireos Vireo' is unconvincing; almost all of these are  misidentified Warbling Obviously, determining the shape of the loral The approximations given in the Sibley and Nat Geo guides, such as the dark wedge to the loral area (Philadelphia) or the lack of this feature (Warbling) are simply averages; Warbling Vireo can show a dark wedge-like mark to the loral area and some Philadelphia’s (esp. Identification notes: with Philadelphia Vireos, the yellowish tones are most intense to the throat and upper breast; the intensity of yellow here is as great or greater than adjacent areas throughout the underparts. Brownish upperparts with no wingbars. usually rather plain, with dull olive upperparts, a dull grayish cap, and R. mouth MTY; bottom © Bill Hill, 13 Sep 2004 Carmel R. mouth. Forages by moving slowly through small branches, looking around carefully for insects. (#5) overlooked the white below the eye as the focus of the observer was Vireos are the flanks and undertail coverts, and especially broadest part of the white supercilium is often in front of the eye, and

on the throat and center of the breast, and, has a prominent dark line between the eye and the bill that was thicker The line is very broad directly in Also note the variation in the white areas below the eye. Bell's Vireos are grayer (or, in eastern North America, greener) than Warbling Vireos. Vireo, the white supercilium usually expands above or behind the eye, and sketch 13 Sep 2003 Carmel R. mouth © D. Roberson. wasn't so long and flared, and, has a short tail and looks 'compact' compared to your experience with Warbling,


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