English and Scientific names:

‘Eastern’ Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii bellii )

Number of individuals: 

1 in fresh fall plumage

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

Peveto Beach Woods, ca. 3.5 mi. E of Johnson Bayou

Date(s) when observed:

25 September 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~12:00 – 12:10 PM CDT

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

Lancaster, PA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Edward Raynor

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Slightly overcast with optimal midday sunlight.  Sun angle high and backlighting not a factor.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42 (excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s): 

ca. 4-5 meters

Duration of observation:

~10 min. (non-continuous)


Mature, fragmented coastal chenier woodlot adjacent to Gulf.  Live oak-honeylocust-hackberry dominated woodlot with herbaceous understory.  Understory primarily ragweed, baccharis, etc.

Behavior of bird: 

The vireo was observed foraging and in flight.  It was actively foraging in typical deliberate vireo fashion between two live oaks at the northeast corner of the woodlot.  It was first spotted at the edge of the woodlot by the fence line before quickly ducking into dense cover.  It occasionally popped up into view while foraging deep within the oaks and gave good looks for several seconds at a time.  It made a few short flights while foraging.


A smallish vireo with dull olive-green upperparts and pale yellowish-white, nondescript underparts.  Underparts washed with pale yellow especially on sides, flanks, and vent.  Grayish head contrasting moderately with rest of upperparts.  Two ill-defined, pale wing bars with the lower (greater coverts) wing bar being much more prominent.  Subtle whitish, broken spectacles and dark lores.  A noticeably pale bill with a slightly duskier upper mandible (dark culmen).  Dark brown irides.  Tarsi and feet dark gray.



Similar species:

Empidonax flycatchers can be eliminated by foraging behavior and general morphology.  Kinglets and warblers can be eliminated by the thickness of bill, pale spectacles, and overall plumage pattern.  White-eyed Vireo (WEVI) can be eliminated by the indistinct, pale spectacles, dark lores, single prominent white wing bar, pale bill, and dark irides.  No other similar vireos occurring in LA.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

No, unfortunately not.

Previous experience with this species: 

Very familiar with Eastern ssp. from previous encounters in Midwest (IL, MO) plus 3-4 individuals in LA.

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005).

This description is written from: 

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


Yes, positive.

Date and time: 

Devin Bosler

9 October 2009

2:30 PM EDT