World's Smallest Birds

Tropical Parula

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga pitiayumi

Tropical Parula

The Tropical Parula is a small warbler with a plumage that varies depending on the region it lives in.

Males have blue-gray upperparts and head. The mantle exhibits a triangular bronze-olive patch. On the upperwing, two white wing-bards are formed by the white-tipped greater and median coverts. The tail shows white patches on the three outermost rectrices.

Females are slightly duller. They have gray lores and ear-coverts (not black), and very faint orange wash on throat and upper breast.

Juveniles have dull gray head and upperparts, indistinct white wing-bars and the underparts are yellowish-white with grayish tinge on flanks.

The Tropical Parula measures about 4.5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 6.5 inches and weighs about 5 - 8 grams.

Their usual call is a sharp, thin “tsit”.
When the bird is alarmed, this note is repeated rapidly.

Their song is an accelerating buzzy trill uttered at various pitches, often preceded by high, thin notes, sometimes compared to insect-like buzzing “tsee tsee tsee zeeeeeeeeeeeerrrip”.

Feeds mostly on insects and spiders, but they will occasionally take berries as well.

Found mostly in oak forests in the Texas portion of its range, typically thick forests with significant growth of Spanish Moss.

It is a resident from Southern Texas and Northwestern Mexico, Central America to Northern Argentina, Northern Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Northwestern Colombia to Northwestern Peru, Suriname, French Guiana and Northern Brazil. It is absent from most of the Amazon Basin.

They nests in wooded areas near water. They are monogamous and solitary nesters. The nest is dome-shaped with a side- entrance, that is made with mosses, pieces of bark, fine grasses, hair and feathers. It is placed between 3 and 13 meters above the ground, in clump of Spanish moss in tree.

The female lays 2 creamy-white eggs finely spotted brown at large end. In Texas and Northern Mexico, the clutch often contains up to 4 eggs.

The female incubates the eggs about 12 - 14 days. The male feeds her during this period. The young fledge 10 - 12 days after hatching and still depend on parents for three weeks more.

Tropical Parula infographic


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