Puerto Rican Vireo (Vireo latimeri)

Puerto Rican Vireo


The Puerto Rican vireo (Vireo latimeri) is a small bird endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico and one of the 31 species belonging to the genus Vireo of the family Vireonidae. Its local name is bien-te-veo ("see-you-well", after the call), not to be confused with the unrelated great kiskadee - also known as bien-te-veo - which is found elsewhere.

Distribution And Habitat

The Puerto Rican Vireo is endemic in Puerto Rico and widespread and common throughout forest habitats at all elevations, except in the east where it is uncommon or rare (Oberle 2018, Raffaele 1989a). The species is usually associated with montane forests, coffee plantations, coastal karst limestone, and thorn forests with vine tangles (Oberle 2018). It has also been reported in the haystack hills of the north coast and among the hills of the south coast (Faaborg and others 1997, Raffaele 1989a). Only an unconfirmed record of the vireo exists for Vieques (Gemmill 2015). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 362 records within 210 hexagons or 44 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 210 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 4 percent (8) of the hexagons, probable in 29 percent (61), and possible in 67 percent (141) (see map). Puerto Rican Vireo distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Puerto Rican Vireo Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Puerto Rican Vireo makes a deep cup-shaped nest made of grass, twigs, moss, and other vegetation, usually in the fork of branches. Previously published reports indicate that construction of the nest begins in March and peaks in May, with the juveniles fl edging in June (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding 215Puerto Rican Vireo/Bienteveoactivity from March to June (see chart). Results show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (53 percent of the hexagons), and in the subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest life zones at higher elevations (30 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map). However, results show that it also breeds in the coastal plains of the southern region within the subtropical dry forest life zone (17 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The population trend for the Puerto Rican Vireo has not been quantified or assessed, but it is described as fairly common (Stotz and others 1996). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). However, a current major threat is nest parasitism by the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), which has been shown to reduce breeding success especially in the subtropical dry forest in Guánica (Faaborg and others 1997, Woodworth 1997) and perhaps elsewhere in the lowlands. However, cowbird parasitism is less of a threat to the Puerto Rican Vireos breeding in the montane forests of Maricao (Tossas 2008), which may serve as a source population to maintain the heavily parasitized populations (sink populations) in the lowlands (Tossas 2002). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican Vireo has a protected habitat in land of 16 percent or 810 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (5025 km2).