Blue Mountain Vireo
Vireo osburni

Passeriformes Order – Vireonidae Family

The Blue Mountain Vireo is endemic to Jamaica where it is described as « uncommon » due to habitat loss. It frequents forested areas up to 2,200 metres of elevation.
It feeds on insects, seeds and fruits caught among the thick foliage. It nests in a dangling cup in tree.
The Blue Mountain Vireo is currently considered Near-Threatened.
Both French and scientific names pay tribute to Lieutenant W. Osburn who visited Jamaica and collected birds in 1859-1860.

Length: 12,5-15 cm
Weight: 20-22 g

The Blue Mountain Vireo has dull grey-brown head and upperparts, with middle and lower back and rump tinged olive-brown. On the upperwings, primaries and secondaries are grey-brown with greyish-green edges on outer webs, forming a dark patch on closed wings. On the tail, rectrices are grey-brown with greenish edges on outer webs, especially on lateral feathers.
On the underparts, chin and throat are yellowish-white. The upper breast is yellowish with greyish-brown mottling. Lower breast and belly are yellowish-white with dark greyish mottling. Flanks are brighter yellow and vent is pale yellowish.

On the head, forehead, crown and nape are grey-brown, whereas lores and ear-coverts are duller.
The heavy bill is blackish above and slightly paler on lower mandible. The eyes are reddish-brown. Legs and feet are grey.

Male and female are similar.
The juvenile has yellow restricted to lower belly and undertail-coverts.

The Blue Mountain Vireo is found only in Jamaica. It occurs mainly in the Blue and John Crow Mountains, Cockpit Country and Mount Diablo.

The Blue Mountain Vireo occurs mainly in mountain rainforest, but also in upland wooded areas and coffee plantations.

The Blue Mountain Vireo gives a very rapid trill or bubbling whistle, descending slightly in tone. The alarm call is a harsh “burr” descending towards the end. This species is more often heard than seen.

The Blue Mountain Vireo feeds on insects, seeds and fruits.
This secretive bird forages within the dense foliage or even close to the ground where it gleans insects from low flowers.
It is usually seen alone or in small mixed-species flocks.

The Blue Mountain Vireo builds a dangling cup in a tree.  
It is resident in Jamaica, and only performs short flights while foraging.

The breeding season takes place between March and July.
The Blue Mountain Vireo builds a pendant cup made with moss, placed at low to moderate height in a sapling or a tree.
The eggs are spotted, but clutch size and breeding behaviour are currently unknown.

The Blue Mountain Vireo has restricted range in which it is uncommon.
It is threatened by degradation and loss of its habitat involving range contractions. However, as it also frequents upland woods and coffee plantations, this species is suspected to adapt to modified habitats.
The population size is unknown, but it is probably slowly declining.
The Blue Mountain Vireo is currently considered Near-Threatened.

Fr: Viréo d’Osburn
Ang: Blue Mountain Vireo
All: Osburnvireo
Esp: Vireo de Osburn
Ita: Vireo dei Blue
Nd: Osburns Vireo
Sd: osburnvireo

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 15 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-David Christie - Lynx Edicions – ISBN: 9788496553682

BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES – by Herbert Raffaele, Kristin Williams et Tracy Pedersen – Helm – ISBN: 9780713649055 
A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by James Bond – Editeur: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999 – ISBN: 0618002103, 9780618002108 – 256 pages

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

Neotropical Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

An early description and illustration of Blue Mountain Vireo Vireo osburni


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