Least Bell's Vireo

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image: leastbell'svireo.jpg

Common Name: Least Bell’s Vireo

Scientific Name: Vireo Bellii Pusillus

Size: 4-5 inches (11-12cm)

Habitat: North America; found in California and Baja California in riparian areas.

Status: Endangered. Global Population: 180-500. In 1978, the total population of Least Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) was estimated at 90 pairs. Endangered due to habitat loss, off-road vehicle use and nest predation by cowbirds.

Diet: Insects.

Breeding: During nesting season, most of the foraging occurs in the vicinity of the nest site, which is predominately in willow trees. A dense shrub layer is considered essential for nesting. Nests are constructed about three feet off the ground and are usually made from willows. Most nest sites are located near the edges of thickets and males often reuse the nest in succeeding years.

Cool Facts: Least Bell’s Vireo was Red-listed in 1986. Its preferred habitat is dense willow forests in riparian areas with lush understory of vegetation. The Least Bell’s vireo is predominately an insect eater. The birds will forage in high and low shrubs and along riparian areas. The most common plant species used for foraging and nesting are the California wild rose and the coastal live oak.

There was an estimated 385 pairs in 1992 and it is threatened because it’s critical riparian habitat is quickly vanishing to make way for off-road recreation (vegetation destruction/disturbed areas) and golf courses herbicides, pesticides and loss of natural vegetation). In addition, periodic flooding of riparian areas are essential to the health of these areas. Water control projects hamper and halt this natural cycle. Cowbirds are also threats to the nesting cycle.

Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened Endangered Extinct 1

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