Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-40

Common name:

Blue-headed Vireo

Scientific name: Vireo solitarius
Date: 10-02-03
Time: 6:00 PM
Length of time observed: 2 to 3 minutes
Number: 1
Location: Red Hills G.C. St. George
County: Washington
Distance to bird: Within 20 feet
Optical equipment: 10x42 B & L Elites
Weather: Mostly clear without any wind
Light Conditions: Good lighting about 1 hour before sundown
Detailed description of bird: A Solitary Vireo.It had a dark blue gray head with very contrasting white eye rings and lores.It had a white throat with a sharp contrasting line from the dark head. The back was green and it contrasted with the blue gray nape. The wing coverts and the primarys were dark.It had two yellowish wing bars.The secondaries and tertials were also dark but they were edged with yellow. The breast, belly and undertail coverts were clean white.The sides and flanks were very bright yellow.The tail was short and was dark. There was some white on the outer rectrices but it was hard to tell how much.The bill was stout and dark gray. The legs were blue gray.
(see photos and description by Steve Summers)
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: It came into pishing and just sat there and looked at me.It did after a while slowly hop around on the bigger tree branches before it flew of into the thicker brush.
Habitat: Willows and cottonwoods with mesquite desert scrub.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
A bright Cassin's Vireo can be very simalar. But with good looks at them most can be separated. They don't have
as sharp of a contrast from the white throat and the dark head. And the nape blends in with the back. They can be very yellow below but the yellow doesn't seem to contrast with the white belly and throat as much as a Blue-headed.They usually don't have yellow on the wings, most have white wing bars and greenish secondaries.But some can have a yellowish green color on the wings. Plumbeous Vireo can usually be separated quite easily by the lack of color.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've lived on the west coast for years and have studied closely many very bright Cassin's Vireos. I have seen many
Blue-headed Vireos in the east.
References consulted: None at the time. Later an old birding write up on Solitary Vireos and different books.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Larry Tripp
Observer's address: 131 N. Butch Cassidy Trail Central, Utah 84722
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Rick Fridell and Steve Summers Both saw the bird two days later.
Date prepared: 11-03-03 (General Public)
Additional material: Photos and description sent in by Steve Summers
Additional comments: