Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius), Hassayampa River Preserve, Maricopa County
probable Blue-headed Vireo was found and photographed by Robert Hamilton on 07 November 2015
There are few accepted records of the Blue-headed Vireo in Arizona, none of which have been photographed. The Arizona Bird Committee takes a conservative approach to reports of this species, which can be indistinguishable from the regularly-occurring Cassin's Vireo.
On average, Blue-headed Vireos are more contrastingly
marked than Cassin's, with brighter yellow contrasting
with cleaner white on the underparts, a darker
steel-blue cap contrasting more strongly with the white
throat and spectacles and green back, and more white on
the wing and tail edgings.
Robert notes: "The bird was observed chasing around
with a Cassin's Vireo, with the Blue-headed acting as
aggressor. Both birds remained mostly in shade for the
duration of observation, which totaled about a minute.
The chest and belly of the Blue-headed Vireo were
cleaner white than typical for Cassin's Vireo. The clear
yellow sides and vent were prominent, even in the
relatively poor lighting conditions, and the division
between the bright white throat and gray face was
well-defined (shown well in photo 1). Contrast between
head and back could not be judged given the views I had.
I spent most of the minute or so I could see the bird
attempting to documenting the record with photos, but
did spend about 10 seconds actually studying the bird
through binoculars. The intensity of yellow in the
photos may appear underwhelming, but consider how poor
the lighting is -- I was photographing in manual mode at
ISO 400, attempting to counter the backlit conditions.
When I briefly viewed the bird in decent light, the
intensity of pure yellow all along the sides and flanks,
and across the vent, was rather striking. The Cassin's
Vireo that was with this bird was a straightforward
Cassin's, with yellow-green sides fading out at the
flanks, somewhat duskier underparts, and generally
lower-contrast plumage. I heard what I believed to be
the Blue-headed Vireo scold several times during the
observation, in response to my pishing and playback of
Blue-headed Vireo song and scolds on my phone."
07 November 2015, photo by Robert HamiltonAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 12 November 2015