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Bell's vireo

Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii)
Photo © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

An adult Bell's vireo is four and one-half to four and three-fourths inches in length. It is a small, gray bird with yellow-tinted feathers on its sides. Each eye is dark-colored and has a white ring around it. The bill has a curved ridge and is somewhat hooked at the tip. The wing feathers are yellow-gray with one or two white wing bars. The belly feathers are white.

Bell's vireo is an uncommon migrant and summer resident in Illinois. It winters from Mexico south to northern South America. This species lives in shrubby areas, in roadside brush and along streams. It eats insects. Its call is "cheedle cheedle chee cheedle cheedle chew!" This bird stays low to the ground in dense vegetation. Spring migrants begin to arrive in Illinois in early May. Nesting occurs from May through July. The nest is placed close to the ground in vegetation. Nests are cups of woven plants and plant fibers. Three or four white eggs are laid.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Vireonidae

Illinois Status: common, native