Northern Parula

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga Americana

Northern Parula

The Northern Parula is a small wood- warbler with a short tail and a thin, pointy bill. It is a plump little warbler about the size of a kinglet.

Both sexes measure about 4.3 - 4.7 inches in length, with a wingspan of 6.3 - 7.1 inches and weight of about 5 - 11 grams.

Adult males are bluish gray overall with a yellow-green patch on the back and 2 white wingbars. A chestnut band separates the male's bright yellow throat and chest.

Adult females are a bit paler and typically lack the male's breast band.

Males and females have distinctive white eye crescents.

Immature birds are paler than adults and lack the chestnut breast band.

CALL: Males and females give a sharp chip during aggressive encounters and while foraging.

SONG: They have 2 different types of songs. Most common is a rising buzzy trill with a final sharp note. This song rises up and pinches off sharply at the end. The other song has distinct pauses in between bouts of the rising buzzy trill.

Males are the primary vocalists, but females may occasionally sing. 
Parulas sing often while hopping between branches in the middle to upper levels of the forest.

Feeds mostly on insects, caterpillars, ants, bees, wasps, and spiders. Vegetable matter does not appear to be an important component of its diet.

Breeds in all kinds of woodland, especially near water.

On migration, it can also be seen in bushy areas and thickets.

They breed mostly in coniferous forests in the North, but prefer deciduous woodlands in the South.

Breeds from N Ontario to Nova Scotia, and N Minnesota to N New York and S New Hampshire, and also from S Iowa to S New York, southward to E Texas and Florida.

Winters in S Mexico to Honduras and in the Caribbean.

Some populations winter in very southern Florida. 

The female does most of the nest building. Nest is built inside a mass of hanging beard lichen, usually with no other lining than that provided by the plant itself, but the bowl is sometimes lined with hair, fine grasses, pine needles or plant down. It is carefully woven into the base of a high clump of Spanish moss.

The female lays 3 - 7 white eggs, speckled with cinnamon around the larger end. She incubates alone for about 12 - 14 days.


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