Blackburnian Warbler

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga fusca

Blackburnian Warbler

The Blackburnian Warbler is a long distant migrant, it summers around the U.S./Canada border, and winters near the forests of the Andes in South America.

The Blackburnian Warbler is a small passerine and average-sized wood-warbler, with a short, thin, pointed bill, trim body and medium-length tail.

Both sexes are about 4.3 – 4.7 inches long, with 7.9 – 9.1 inches wingspan and weight of 8.9 – 12.6 grams.

In summer, the males display dark gray backs and double white wing bars, with yellowish rumps and dark brown crowns. The underparts are white, and are tinged with yellow and streaked black. The head is strongly patterned in yellow and black, with a flaming-orange throat. 

It is the only North American warbler with this striking plumage.

Other plumages, including the fall male and adult female, are washed-out versions of the summer male, and in particular lack the bright colors and strong head pattern.

Females have a dull-yellow supercilium, contrasting with grayish cheeks and yellow throat contrasting with the dark streaky sides and back.

Basic plumages show weaker yellows and gray in place of black in the breeding male.

CALL: Includes a high, incisive “tseet”, sometimes doubled, often heard from nesting birds.
A thinner, high “tsip” is often heard from migrants during the day.
A similar flight call given by nocturnal migrants is a high, very short, sharp “tzip”.

SONG: A simple series of high “swi” notes, which often ascend in pitch. It includes “zip zip zip zip zip zip zip zip”“titititi tseeeeee” or “teetsa teetsa teetsa teetsa”.

Feeds primarily on insects, with a strong preference for caterpillars. 
They will occasionally eat berries, especially during the winter.

Prefers spruce and hemlock forests on its summer breeding grounds. They can be found in nearly any kind of forest, woodland, or shrubland during migration through the state.

Breeds in eastern North America, from southern Canada, westwards to the southern Canadian Prairies, the Great Lakes region and New England, to North Carolina.

Winters in southern Central America and in South America, and are very rare vagrants to western Europe.

The female builds a cup-shaped nest with twigs, bark, rootlets and fibers.
It is secured to a branch with spider silk. It is lined with lichens, moss, fine grass, hair and conifer needles, occasionally with plant down.

She lays 3 – 5 white or greenish white eggs with brown spots and blotches.
She incubates them alone for about 12 – 13 days.


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