Flame-throated Warblers, Parula gutturalis

The Flame-throated Warbler, Parula gutturalis, is a small New World warbler. It is sometimes placed in the genus Vermivora.

Range / Distribution

This species is a resident breeder with a range restricted to the mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama, where it occurs in the canopy, woodland edges, and clearings with trees typically from 2100 m up to the timberline. On the Caribbean slope in the wet season it may occur down to as low as 1400 m.

Nesting / Breeding

The deep cup nest, always sheltered above by epiphytes or mosses, is built in a tree or on a low bank. Two white eggs are laid between March and May.


The adult Flame-throated Warbler is 12 cm long and weighs 10 g. It has slate grey upper parts, with black on the back, lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head), and around the eye. It has a vermilion throat and breast which contrast with the whitish belly.

The sexes are almost identical, but the black mask is more extensive in the male.

The young bird is browner above, duller below, and has a weak buff eyestripe and wing bars.

Diet / Feeding

The Flame-throated Warbler feeds on caterpillars, insects and spiders picked off the foliage with its sharp pointed bill. It is territorial when breeding, but will join feeding flocks of insectivorous birds at other times.

Call / Vocalization

The call of this warbler is a sharp chit. The song is a buzzing pi pipipipi shwaaaa.


Recent genetic evidence will likely move this species into the genus Vermivora (Lovette, I. J., and E. Bermingham, 2001).


  • BirdLife International (2004). . 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Curson, J., Quinn, D. and Beadle, D. (1994). New World Warblers. Helm. ISBN 0-7136-3932-6
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • Lovette, I. J., and E. Bermingham. (2001) Mitochondrial perspective on the phylogenetic relationships of the Parula wood-warblers. Auk vol 118 p. 211–215.


  • Lovette, I. J., and E. Bermingham. (2002) WHAT IS A WOOD-WARBLER? MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF A MONOPHYLETIC PARULIDAE. Auk. vol. 119 no 3. p. 695–714.
  • Price, Jessica. (2006) Gauging the Ecological Health of a Costa Rican Cloud Forest: Birds as Bio-Indicators. Eukaryon, vol 2, p. 104-109.
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