Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Word has now spilled across the internet that a very intriguing-looking vireo was sighted in Vancouver on the 18th of September, 2013. Well here's what I have collected so far. Please check out the photos and comment if you have any strong feelings to suggest that this is not a YG Vireo.

If accepted, this would be a first record for British Columbia and  the second record for Canada (the first being a specimen collected in Quebec back in 1899!). While at face-value this might seem like an outlandish vagrant, the species is close to annual in September in California now a days and this year saw 12 confirmed sightings including a couple in the San Francisco area. 

  • Thank you to Andy Birch for helping to get the word out on this!
This from the photographer:

"There aren't really too much in the way of field observations. All i can say is, i saw the bird moving around in a tree, not sure if you can ID the tree from the photos? The bird seemed to stay in under the foliage, not coming out to the front of the tree at all. Which was why the photos are not my best! It stayed in the same tree for maybe 10 minutes, before disappearing into some thick bushes. I spent half of that time photographing the bird, the other half trying to get the attention of my birder friend. Sadly, he believed it to be a Red-eyed Vireo, as you can imagine, as Yellow-green has not been found this far North before. So, we didn't pursue it too much, bad move as it turns out, but sure you understand why?"

----Gary Thoburn (All photos are his).

*Remember that you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them*


  1. Thanks for posting Russell.

    I am going to take a step here and Say Yellow Green Vireo.

    The coloration, "jizz" and bill size match that species best. According to the National Geographic Field Guide, the Red-eyed Vireo may display some yellowish tones on the flanks and undertail coverts. Some vireos of the genus vireo may go a little more yellowish in the fall. I understand that melanins/porphyrins and the more volatile, diet based carotinoids all have an influence on many aspects of bird coloration.

    However, I notice that the bird's back and paler head, contrasting with the strongish yellow/green colors on the subject bird's belly/flank and undertail coverts, and even onto the face match the pattern of a Yellow-Green Vireo rather closely.

    Also, the "blending" of the supercillary pattern and the width and pale grayish tones in these facial patterns approaching the crown are consistent with yellow green vireo.

    Plumage is more variable among birds, but bill size is not as vulnerable to variation. Note that the bird photographed has a very substantial bill. That is a very notable characteristic of Yellow-green Vireo, and I find it somewhat telling and indicative of the possibility of Yellow-green Vireo.

    Please see these two photos of the subject species from Google images: I found that the photos, especially those in profile, most closely matched the Yellow Green in coloration and shape, including bill size.

  2. These excellent photos make the ID so much easier, kudos to the photographer!

  3. Yes, I see the extensive yellow and larger two-toned bill more in line with the Yellow-Green Vireo.
    Sibley says Yellow-Green has a grayish crown without dark contrasting border, but on this bird and many online photos, there is a dark border between crown and eye brow.

  4. Yellow-green Vireo in Canada. Now I've heard of everything!

  5. We have a few of these that come and drink "upside down" at our hummingbird feeder on a daily basis...didn't know what the were. Sunshine Coast BC