Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius), Flagstaff, Coconino County
This probable Blue-headed Vireo was discovered and photographed by Brenden Gebhart on 17 September 2009 near Flagstaff.
There are only 3 accepted records of this species in the state. All are sight records lacking definitive physical documentation. Therefore, if this is accepted by the Arizona Bird Committee, it would be the first physically documented record.
Brenden describes his sighting:
"Paradise Forks, Flagstaff
approx 9:45AM, Sept 17
I have just sighted what I believe to be a BLUE-HEADED VIREO
the bird flew up, landed in a ponderosa pine just long enough to photograph and then flew higher, out of sight. I heard it sing, much like the song of a red-eyed, but was very musical. I then proceeded to pull out my blackberry, loaded with all of the bird songs of NA. I played the cassin's...no response. then the blue-headed. It called right back and got closer. i couldn't snap off another shot soon enough before it flew off. The song was like "chewee chereo."
The description of the song and the responsiveness of the bird to the
different songs, supports the identification of this bird as a Blue-headed
Vireo. However, Blue-headed Vireo is extremely difficult to separate
visually from a bright Cassin's Vireo. Most of the marks are matters of
degree: more contrast between head and throat, whiter underparts, more
yellow on the sides. This bird is definitely toward the Blue-headed end of
that spectrum although not as extreme as some Blue-headeds get. However, a
recently discovered mark is the amount of white on the undertail.
According to Matt Heindel, an expert on this vireo group, Cassin's can have
decent white edgings to the tail feathers but the white never encroaches on the
inner web as much as in this bird. Based on the amount of white in the
tail and the intermediate contrast, he thinks this is probably an adult female
17 September 2009, photo by Brenden GebhartAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 20 October 2009