Guide to Boreal Birds
This warbler is a darker counterpart of the Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens), which breeds east of the Rocky Mountains. The pattern of Townsend's plumage is similar to that of the Hermit, Black-throated Gray, and Golden-cheeked (Dendroica chrysoparia) warblers; all these warblers are believed to have developed from one ancestral stock.
4 1/4-5" (11-13 cm). Adult male has black crown, nape, ear patch, throat, and bib, and olive green back. Face and breast bright yellow; sides heavily streaked with black; white belly. Wings and tail dusky, with 2 white wing bars and white outer tail feathers. In winter, in male, female, and immature, black bib is replaced by dark streaking and black elsewhere becomes dusky olive.
A rising series of notes, usually with 2 phrases, the first repeated 3 or 4 times, the second once or twice: weazy weazy weazy weazy twea or dee dee dee-de de. Call is a soft chip.
3-5 white eggs, wreathed and speckled with brownish markings, in a well-concealed shallow cup in a conifer.
Coniferous forests; in old stands of Douglas firs, where it forages in the upper canopy.
Breeds from Alaska and British Columbia to northern Washington; Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winters from southwestern California southward.