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Palm Warbler, breeding
© Sharon Cummings

Perching Birds

Palm Warbler  Dendroica palmarum

Family: Wood Warblers, Parulidae

Audio: Martyn Stewart, ©

Description  5 1/2" (14 cm). An olive-drab, streaked, ground-feeding warbler with bright olive rump, bright yellow undertail coverts, and distinctive habit of wagging its tail. Underparts vary from yellow to whitish buff, depending on age and geography; adults in spring have rufous cap.

Habitat  In summer, bogs in the North; during migration, open places, especially weedy fields and borders of marshes.

Nesting  4 or 5 brown-speckled white eggs in a grass nest fashioned with shreds of bark and lined with feathers and rootlets. Nest is placed on the ground in a grass clump, often at the base of a small tree or bush.

Voice  Weak dry trill, like that of Chipping Sparrow but slower.

Range  Breeds from west-central Canada east to Labrador and Newfoundland, and south to extreme northern portions of United States. Winters from southeastern United States southward.

Discussion  The Palm Warbler is one of the first warblers to arrive in the spring, and at this season is commonly found feeding quietly on the ground, sometimes with flocks of sparrows. It is unusual among warblers of the genus <I>Dendroica</I> in nesting on the ground; the only other species that does this is the rare Kirtland's Warbler.

Banner photo credit: CPAWS Wildlands League