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15cm. Grey olive head, olive back, white underparts, yellow flanks, dark wings with 2 white wing bars, flight feathers edged yellow-olive, tertials edged white, thick bill with hooked upper mandible, white eye, yellow spectacles, dusky lores, blue-grey legs. Sexes similar.
Juveniles - dark eyes and more yellow beneath.
Southeastern USA from New Jersey west to northern Missouri, south to Texas and Florida, eastern Mexico, northern Central America, Cuba and the Bahamas. Populations on the US Gulf coast and further south are resident, but most North American birds migrate south in winter.
The northern subspecies, V. g. noveboracensis, occupies most of the range of this species and is fully migratory; it is larger and has more brightly coloured plumage than all other subspecies.
The resident southeastern coastal plain race, V. g. griseus is slightly smaller and duller coloured. It does not typically migrate out of its breeding range in the winter.
The resident Florida Keys race, V. g. maynardi, is greyer above and whiter below, and the south Texan V. g. micrus is like a smaller maynardi.
V. g. bermudianus, is endemic to Bermuda. It has shorter wings and a duller plumage.
Bushes and shrubs in abandoned cultivation or overgrown pastures.
The diet includes insects, especially caterpillars; in winter it also takes berries.
Its nest is cup shaped, lined with grass, attached to a fork in a tree branch by spider webs. 3-5 dark-spotted white eggs are laid. Both parents incubate the eggs for 12 - 16 days. The young leave the nest 9 - 11 days after hatching.
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