Warbler Tips ID Charts

Warbler Tips ID Chart

by Daniel Edelstein, danieledelstein@att.net, 415-382-1827

Warbler Chart 1 (1 of 3; see below)

SCIENTIFIC NAME Common Name

Spring Arrival Time

Fall Departure Time.

Confused With?

Breeding Habitat

Status

Comments

Setophaga petechia Yellow Early (among top 5 in East/Midwest) July onward (early disperse after nesting) Prothonotary Deciduous bottom lands/creek bottoms; wet and/or or moist areas; dense vegetation Decline in W. USA 43 subspecies is most among all 115 New World wood-warblers; many endemic subspecies; largest geographical breeding area of all 115 New World wood-warblers: northern S. America to Alaska.
S. pennsylvanica Chestnut-sided Neither early or late More eastern USA; protracted  departure; occ. vagrant on W. Coast Golden-winged, especially for 1st year males in fall Deciduous; 2nd growth areas; absent from thick, dense, unbroken/unfragmented forest Local declines in eastern USA where climax/dense forest has returned Frequent B.H. Cowbird host; declines when mature forests return to an area; more rare during 1700s (when climax forests occurred) than now.
Smagnolia Magnolia Early to mid-early Often early Immature Prairie Conif. forest; esp. spruce Increases in New Engl. “Spruce Warbler” would be apt name; it often nests in spruces
Stigrina Cape May Not early, but not late arrival Early 1st year, female Yellow-Rumped Conif. forest; bogs Fluctuate; cyclical Arboreal; “fighter,” often defend. food sources (fruit/nect)
S. caerulescens Black-Throated Blue Never early Late Female with Orange-Crowned & Tennessee Deciduous & mixed woods On “Watch List” Nests in decid. or mixed woods; Highly dimorphic (male-female)
S. virens Black-Throated Green Often early Often late in Midwest/NE Golden-cheeked; Town/Hermit hybrids conifif/mixed woods Varies yearly Winters in second growth/edges, thus able to survive deforestat.
S. dominica Yellow-throated Very early, esp. in Mid-Atlantic Early Grace´s Low. forest; Sp. moss imp Expanding N and E? Creeping foraging behavior is tell-tale clue; often up high
S.pinus Pine Early Late Fall Blackpoll, Bay-breasted Pines, other conifs. Stable in S. range (?) Large, long-tailed, heavy-billed; dist. trill; among hardiest warbs.
S. kirtlandii Kirtland´s Not early Late? Palm & Prairie (tail bobs) Jack pines in MI and ? On Fed. End. Species List Rare; cowbird management and habitat management important
S. discolor Prairie In FL by March with resident subsp. Migrants in FL by mid-July Male Pine; fall Magnolia; Palm (tail bobs) Successional habitats On “Watch List” BBS data shows recent declines over most of range
S. castanea Bay-breasted Not early; mid-May arrival in Upper Midwest/Gr. Lakes Long, extended Fall Bay-breasted’s with Fall Blackpolls Boreal forests < when < mat. forests because < spruce budworms are present. On “Watch List” Populations vary from year to year, depending on level of spruce budworm outbreak
S. striata Blackpoll Often late; occ. one of last sp. to arrive More E. than spring migration Fall with 1st fall Bay-breasted (especially females) Wet conifers Often abundant Most highly-migratory wood warbler (2,150 miles autumn flight for east. USA migrators)
S. fusca Blackburnian No early Rel. early, E. 1st fall female with Cerulean & immature female Townsend’s Mixed forest; tall, mature conifers Vulnerable due to hab. changes Hemlocks often are nesting site; Usnea lichen often used in n. areas; spanish moss in s. USA
S. coronata Yellow-rumped Early; often the 1st sp. or over-winters Late; some over-winter far north 1st fall female Cape May; vocalization & plumage distinct: Audubon subspecies vs. Myrtle subspecies Conifers, mixed forests BBS shows no trends Myrtle Group has two subspp; Audubon Group variation is more detailed/complex; Other two endemic subspecies = Black-fronted in Mexico and Goldman’s in Guatemala
S. cerulea Cerulean Early One of earliest Females and 1st fall males look like 1st fall female Blackburnian Old growth, mature deciduous forests Numbers down; On “Watch List” BBS suggests major drops in breeding bird populations.  Degradation of both winter. and summer habitats

Warbler Chart 2

SCIENTIFIC NAME Common Name

Spring Arrival Time

Fall Departure Time.

Confused With?

Breeding Habitat

Status

Comments

Vermivora cyanoptera Blue-winged Early Usually early Hybrids/intergrades with Golden-winged (Brewster’s and Lawrence’s intergrades), in addition to Yellow, Prothonotary, Orange-Crowned (subspecies lutescens) Wide variety successional: old pastures, woodland clearings, powerline openings & slashings N, NE expansion; on “Watch List” May mate w/ Golden-winged warbler; resulting shared field marks create Brewster’s or Lawrence’s” warbler
V.chrysoptera Golden-winged Typical Gulf Coast arrival is early April Leaves  after Blue-winged Hybrids/intergrades with Golden-winged (Brewster’s and Lawrence’s intergrades), and, if viewed from below, looks like the Black-throated Gray Warbler. Successional habitats On “Watch List” BBS data indicates decline over most of its nesting range, (northeastern and southern USA) where long-term competition with Blue-winged Warbler results in this species eventually displacing some populations of Golden-winged.
Oreothylpis peregrina Tennessee Often late April arrival in upper Midwest Often early within groups, sometimes in July south of its breeding range. Orange-crowned Boreal forests (needs brushy/mossy understory) Population abundance often varies yearly, sometimes varying with spruce budworm output that is cyclical Some females arrive on n. breeding grounds pregnant due to mating during migration. In non-breeding season habitat, favors nectar and fruit. One of the most frequent “eastern” warblers to appear in the West.
O. ruficapilla Nashville Early Often early Virginia’s, Orange-Crowned Variety Stable? Two distinct subspecies; one in both E & W USA
O. celata Orange-crowned Early on W. Coast but often late April/eary May in Midwest East (celata): often late, sometimes overwintering; West: lutescens subspecies may disperse by June West Coast lutescens subspecies looks like Yellow, Wilson’s & Macgillivray’s. Celata and orestera subspecies are sometimes mistakenly ID’ed as Mourning & Macgillivray’s. Varies by subspecies. Often nests in brushy areas, esp. deciduous thickets. Common on West Coast, but uncommon in the East, though present here during non-breeding season Breeding area for celata subspecies extends from Maritime provinces to n.w. Alaska. Four total subspecies in species. On East Coast Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs), subspecies celata is sometimes seen (i.e., celata migration is often late).
Parula americana No. Parula Very early Prolonged Nashville Varies Stable? Breeds high in trees, often using lichens or Spanish moss as nesting material
Mniotilta varia Black-and-white Early Very early Blackpoll Mature & 2nd Growth Regional declines; cowbird par Creeping foraging is often diagnostic; glean trunks/branches for larvae/insects
Setophaga ruticilla American Redstart Often late Prolonged Distinct apprearance Wet decid, mixed for. Fewer: pts of range Tame/curious; squeaks/”pishes” attract this warbler that acts like may act like flycatcher
Protonotaria citrea Prothonotary Early Very early exit Yellow, Blue-winged Bottom-land forests Numbers down; On “Watch List” Prefers dark, damp lowland woods, swamps; found in wet, shady areas; snags/stumps essential for nesting cavities; only E. USA cavity-nesting wood-warbler
Helmitheros vermivorus Worm-eating Not early Early Swain-son’s Decid. or mixed woods Numbers down; On “Watch List” On migration, may feed higher in treetops than in breeding areas where it forages low, often in clusters of dead leaves; hops, doesn’t walk; usually uses ground for nest
Limnothlypis swainsonii Swainson’s On Gulf Coast by late March Late for s. breed