Golden Vireo Vireo hypochryseus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Vireonidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, Marîa del Coro Arizmendi, Guy M. Kirwan, and Thomas S. Schulenberg


Distinguishing Characteristics

Vireos (Vireo) are small songbirds with a relatively stout, hooked bill. Golden Vireo is principally green above and yellow below, with a bold yellow supercilium. Males and females are similar.

Similar Species

Golden Vireo is the only species of vireo that has the entire underparts so strongly yellow. Confusion is more likely with some species of wood warbler. Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) is smaller and slimmer, with a more slender bill and paler tarsi, and usually has a black crown patch.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Ridgway (1904) (adult) and Howell and Webb (1995) (juvenile), and refers to nominate hypochryseus; see also Geographic Variation:

Adult: Sexes similar. Upperparts plain yellowish olive green, with broad lemon yellow loral streak and supercilium. Remiges dark brownish gray with pale yellowish olive green edgings, these edgings becoming pale gray or grayish white on the outer primaries. Underparts lemon yellow, flanks tinged with pale olive green.

Juvenile: Crown and upperparts washed with brown; underparts paler.



Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: flesh gray

Tarsi and toes: blue gray

Bare parts color data from Howell and Webb (1995).


Total length: 11.8-13.2 cm (Ridgway 1904), 12-13 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Linear measurements (from Ridgway 1904):

male (n = 7)

wing length: mean 64.5 (range 63-65.5 mm)

tail length: mean 56 mm (range 55-57 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 12.5 mm (range 12-13 mm)

tarsus length: mean 18.3 mm (range 17.5-19 mm)

female (n = 5)

wing length: mean 61.6 (range 58-63 mm)

tail length: mean 55 mm (range 54-57 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 12 mm (range 12-12 mm)

tarsus length: mean 18.1 mm (range 18-18.5 mm)

Mass: mean 12.2 g SD 0.9 g (range 10.6-14.1 g, n = 21, sexes combined; Dunning 2008)

Recommended Citation

Rodríguez-Flores, C. I., C. A. Soberanes-González, M. d. C. Arizmendi, G. M. Kirwan, and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Golden Vireo (Vireo hypochryseus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.