Blackburnian Warblers

The Blackburnian Warblers (Dendroica fusca) are small, migratory songbirds that breed in eastern North America, from southern Canada, the Great Lakes region and New England, to North Carolina.

They winter in southern Central America and in South America. Very few may migrate to western Europe.

Spring Female Blackburnian Warbler, Setophaga fusca, South Padre Island, Texas (4/29/13)


Blackburnian Warblers average 11.5 cm in length (including the long tail) and weigh around 8.5 g.

The breeding (summer) plumage of the male Blackburnian Warbler is dark grey on the back with a yellowish rump and a dark brown crown. There have distinctive double white wing bars. The plumage is white below, tinged with yellow and streaked black.

Its head is patterned in yellow and black, with an orange throat.

The non-breeding males, females and juveniles look alike; like washed-out versions of the breeding male. They lack the distinctive head pattern, and have weaker yellows and grey pattern, instead of black.

Blackburnian Warbler

Breeding / Nesting

Blackburnian Warblers breed in mature coniferous woodlands or mixed woodlands, favoring spruce and hemlocks. The cup-shaped nest is usually placed 2-38 m (5-80 feet) above the ground, typically on a horizontal branch.

The average clutch consists of 4 – 5 eggs.

Diet / Feeding

Blackburnian Warblers mostly eat insects found in treetops, but also take some particularly during the winters.

Song / Vocalization

Blackburnian Warblers’ songs consist of a series of high swi notes, which often ascend in pitch. Their calls are a high sip.

Blackburnian Warbler

Photo of author

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