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Canada Warbler, male
© Harold Lindstrom

Perching Birds

Canada Warbler  Wilsonia canadensis

Family: Wood Warblers, Parulidae

Audio: Martyn Stewart, ©

An estimated 61% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

Description  5" (13 cm). Solid gray above, without wing bars, yellow below; yellow "spectacles"; black-spotted "necklace" on breast. Female similar but duller, with only a trace of necklace.

Habitat  Cool, moist woodlands that are nearly mature and have much undergrowth.

Nesting  4 brown-spotted white eggs in a nest of dried leaves and grass, on or near the ground at the base of a stump or in a fern clump.

Voice  A rapid, sputtering warble.

Range  Breeds from southern Canada to northern United States east of Rockies, and in mountains to northern Georgia. Winters in tropics.

Discussion  This warbler received its name from its discovery in Canada, although it is certainly not confined to Canada, even in the breeding season. It ordinarily ranges at low levels, usually from the ground to 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) up. Like several other warblers, it is adept at fly-catching, conspicuously flitting from bush to bush. Flying insects form a great portion of its diet, but it also captures spiders and insect larvae.

Migration Info  The Canada Warbler migrates late in the spring and early in the fall. The passage of this species is rapid (look at the amount of territory covered in any two-week period on the accompanying map). The common name of this species refers to the breeding range; it could more appropriately be called the Andean Warbler, as it spends more than half of its life in the moist mountain habitats of eastern Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru.

Banner photo credit: CPAWS Wildlands League