Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The verdin, Auriparus flaviceps, is a bird of the deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is often found in thorny brush and riparian areas, and it feeds on arthropods and berries. In Utah, it is a common breeder in the Virgin River drainage, especially in Beaver Dam Wash.

During the breeding season, which begins in very early spring, males build several nests, only one of which is finished by the female and used for raising the young. The nest is an 8-inch sphere of thorny sticks with a small hole on the side serving as an entrance, usually constructed in a fork at the end of a branch of a small tree or shrub. The inside of the nest is lined with layers of spider webs, grasses, leaves, and finally a thick layer of feathers and plant down. Typically four eggs are laid and incubated by the female alone. Young are fed at first only by the female parent, but she is later helped by the male. The young are able to fly after about three weeks, but often roost at the nest at night or during the heat of the day. Verdins often produce two broods per year.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.