Black-capped Vireo (Vireo atricapilla)

Picture of Black-capped Vireo (Peromyscus atricapillus)

Photo ©TPWD

Texas Status
U.S. Status
Endangered, Listed 10/06/1987
The tiny black-capped vireo is only 4.5 inches long.
Life History
Black-capped vireos nest in Texas during April through July, and spend the winter on the western coast of Mexico. They build a cup-shaped nest in the fork of a branch 2 to 4 feet above the ground. Nests are usually built in shrubs such as shin oak or sumac. Females lay 3-4 eggs, which hatch in 14-17 days. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. Their diet consists of insects. Black-capped vireos have a lifespan of 5-6 years. Males sing to attract mates and defend territories, which are usually 2 to 4 acres in size. Vireos return year after year to the same area to nest.
Rangelands with scattered clumps of shrubs separated by open grassland are preferred habitat for the black-capped vireo.
Distribution of the Black-capped Vireo (Vireo atricapilla)Black-capped vireos are found throughout the Edwards Plateau and eastern Trans-Pecos regions of Texas.
Black-capped Vireos are endangered because the low growing woody cover they need for nesting has been cleared or overgrazed by livestock and deer. Also, range fires, which used to keep the land open and the shrubs growing low to the ground, are not as frequent today as in the days before people settled Texas. Another problem is that brown-headed cowbirds lay their eggs in vireo nests, causing the vireos to abandon their nest.