THICK-BILLED VIREOS: ABACO’S ONLY PERMANENT RESIDENT VIREO
Hard to know why I haven’t got round to featuring these little vireos before. Unlike the other 7 vireo species found on Abaco seasonally or as transients, the Thick-billed Vireo Vireo crassirostris is an ever-present permanent resident of the coppice and scrub; and their unmistakeable repeating song can be heard almost everywhere. It was the first bird song I heard on Abaco, and therefore the TBV was the first bird I learned to ID. I’ve got quite a soft spot for them, really.
Although TBVs are very easy to hear and track to a general area of coppice, I find actually seeing the bird creating the noise quite hard – let alone getting a clear camera shot. They always seem to be lurking several feet further away, deeper in the foliage, than the sound suggests. I’ve had some fun making TBV song iPhone recordings along the Delphi drive, practising the technique. If you want to know more about recording and converting to MP3 CLICK HERE.
One of my favourite images, from Gerlinde Taurer: a ‘shouty’ bird. We used it for ‘BIRDS OF ABACO‘.
Here’s a clip of song, which I’m sure will be immediately familiar to Bahamians:
Paul Driver / Xeno Canto
The main signifiers for this species, which in combination distinguish the TBV from the other vireo species on Abaco, are:
- Two white wing bars
- Yellow patch – usually quite prominent – between eye and beak
- Thick bill – which immediately rules it out of being one of the 37 warbler species on Abaco…
Text book TBV
There are marked colour variations in the species according to maturity, season and to an extent gender (though m & f are quite similar). Here’s one that is causing wing-bar confusion by only showing traces. It also has quite dark upper parts.
Credits: Tom Reed (1), Craig Nash (2), Gerlinde Taurer (3), Bruce Hallett (4, 8), Tom Sheley (5, 9), Becky Marvil (6), Alex Hughes (7), Tony Hepburn (10); Paul Driver / Xeno Canto