Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Slodocent/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Townsend's Warbler

Townsend's Warbler
Dendroica townsendi
Perching Birds | Family: Wood Warblers, Parulidae

An estimated 14% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

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.

Description

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.

Voice

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.

Nesting

3-5 white eggs, wreathed and speckled with brownish markings, in a well-concealed shallow cup in a conifer.

Habitat

Coniferous forests; in old stands of Douglas firs, where it forages in the upper canopy.

Range/Migration

Breeds from Alaska and British Columbia to northern Washington; Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winters from southwestern California southward.