Blackpoll Warbler – Profile | Facts | Female | Fall | Traits | Range

Blackpoll Warbler

Solid black cap, white cheek, and black-streaked back and underparts make the breeding-plumaged Blackpoll Warbler unmistakable.

Blackpoll Warbler profile

In all different plumages, nonetheless, the Blackpoll Warbler is far plainer and subject to confusion with related plumages of different warblers of the genus Dendroica that present two white wing bars and a general yellowish or greenish coloration, with or without some streaking on the edges.

The white undertail coverts are a helpful mark; seek the advice of area guides for different identification clues.

The Blackpoll is among the many most quite a few warblers in far northern forests in summer, and maybe essentially the most spectacular migrant of all our small birds.

Every fall, most Blackpoll Warblers make an over-water migration from our northeastern coast to northern South America; some could pause in Bermuda or the Antilles, however, others apparently fly nonstop for more than 72 hours.

In spring they’re more leisurely, touring through the West Indies and Florida, pausing to sing in our shade timber on their means north.

Blackpoll Warbler  Overview

The blackpoll warbler, scientific name Setophaga striata is a New World warbler. Breeding males are principally black and white. They have an outstanding black cap, white cheeks, and white wing bars.

The blackpoll breeds in forests of northern North America, from Alaska all through most of Canada, to the mountains of New York and New England.

They are a standard migrant by a lot of North America.

Come fall, they fly South to the Greater Antilles and the Northeastern coasts of South America in a continuous long-distance migration over open water, averaging 2500 km, one of many longest distance continuous overwater flights ever recorded for a migratory songbird.

Rare vagrants to western Europe, they’re one of many more frequent transatlantic passerine wanderers.

Blackpoll Warbler Description

The sharply marked Blackpoll Warbler is nature’s listening to check, with a high-pitched, nearly inaudible song that floats by the boreal forests of Canada.

This long-distance athlete weighs lower than half an oz. but makes the longest overwater journey of any songbird—practically 1,800 miles nonstop over the Atlantic Ocean to its wintering grounds.

In the autumn, this black-and-white warbler molts into yellow-green plumage and loses its black cap. Although nonetheless quite a few, it has lost an estimated 88% of its inhabitants within the final 40 years.

The blackpoll warbler is a reasonably small bird that attains the load of a ball-level pen. However, it is among the bigger of the varied genus Setophaga (previously Dendroica).

In the species, body size can fluctuate from 12.5 to 15 cm (4.9 to 5.9 in) and wingspan can range from 20 to 25 cm (7.9 to 9.8 in). Body mass can fluctuate from 9.7 to 21 g (0.34 to 0.74 oz), with an average bird wherever between 12 and 15 g (0.42 and 0.53 oz).

Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 6.6 to 8 cm (2.6 to three.1 in), the tail is 4.5 to 5.4 cm (1.8 to 2.1 in), the bill is 0.8 to 1.2 cm (0.31 to 0.47 in) and the tarsus is 1.8 to 2 cm (0.71 to 0.79 in).

The summer male blackpoll warblers have dark-streaked brown backs, white faces, and black crowns. Their underparts are white with black streaks, and so they display two white wing bars.

The adult females basically resemble washed-out variations of the summertime males, and specifically, the females lack sturdy head patterns, and their crowns and faces are shades of grey. Another excellent bodily attribute of the species is the intense orange, pink legs.

Non-breeding birds of this species have greenish heads, dark-streaked greenish upperparts, and yellowish breasts, with the yellow extending to the stomach in younger birds. Their wing bars are at all times present.

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Blackpoll Warbler Behavior

Blackpoll Warblers choose bugs off foliage, however, additionally, they are likely to forage close to the trunks of evergreen timber, particularly on the breeding grounds.

During spring migration, they sing whereas trying to find meals, typically hiding amongst leaves and branches in deciduous timber and shrubs.

Although pretty giant for a warbler, blackpoll warblers are pretty simple to overlook due to their comparatively inactive foraging type and tendency to perch in dense foliage close to the cover of the timber.

They are more typically heard than seen, although their song is among the highest-pitched identified. Their songs are easy repetitions of high tsi notes. Their calls are skinny sits.

Blackpoll Warbler Habitat

The Blackpoll Warbler nests in taiga and boreal forests from Alaska throughout northern Canada to Labrador, south on mountaintops into New England and upstate New York.

Its spring and fall migration routes take it throughout the Caribbean to and from wintering grounds in South America, some birds touring as far south as Argentina.

This is maybe the most typical vagrant “eastern” warbler within the West. California information a hundred or more Blackpoll visitors in a typical year however they’re much much less frequent farther north.

Blackpoll Warblers breed primarily in spruce and tamarack forests in Canada’s boreal forests, however, additionally, they use younger stands of evergreens and alder or willow thickets. During migration, they cease over in evergreen and deciduous forests.

In the Pacific Northwest, Blackpoll Warbler breeds within the northern part of British Columbia, however, happens solely casually within the southern part of the province and alongside the coast.

This species is an informal, practically annual customer in Washington with about 20 information, all however two of which occurred in fall and all however two east of the Cascades.

It is uncommon however annual in each Idaho and Oregon, with 75–80 % of the information from fall and the remaining in spring.

Conifers; broadleaf timber in migration. Breeds in a low northern spruce forest, and in alder thickets north of the Arctic Circle and north of treeline.

In migration, strikes by forests, parks, and gardens. In winter within the tropics, present in wooded areas, typically in the cover of timber, as much as 7,800′ elevation.


Breeding male Blackpoll Warblers are black-and-white with a particular black cap and white cheeks bordered by a black mustache stripe.

Breeding females are streaky black, white, and grey, without the male’s black cap or white cheek.

Both sexes have two white wing bars and orange-yellow legs. In late summer they molt into a really totally different plumage: greenish-yellow above with darkish streaking down the back and faint streaking on white underparts. The face is pale yellow with a darkish eyeliner.

Where to search out Blackpoll Warbler 

These birds breed to date north that the most effective instances for many people to see them are in spring and fall, as they migrate by North America.

Spring is arguably the most effective time—males’ colors and patterns are crisp and sharp, and the birds might be touring overland and singing as they transfer north.

Despite their affinity for evergreen timber on the breeding grounds, they have an inclination to forage in deciduous timber and shrubs throughout the migration.

Listen intently for his or her high-pitched song, as it’s generally simple to miss. You may spot Blackpoll Warblers throughout fall migration, however, they take a distinct route than in spring and are unlikely to be seen south of North Carolina.

They look a lot totally different in fall and infrequently sing—however they’re much more quite a few since all of the younger of the year are on their means south along with the adults. Look for them in combined flocks of migrating warblers.


Blackpoll Warblers are small songbirds with a brief tail and a small skinny bill. Compared to different warblers they’ve longer wings.

Foraging and diet

The blackpoll has a deliberate feeding type with occasional flitting, hovering, and hawking around branches. They are primarily insectivorous. The species seems to be fairly a generalist, preying on a great variety of adult and larval bugs and spiders.

Documented insect prey for the species consists of lice, locusts, cankerworms, mosquitoes, webworms, ants, termites, gnats, aphids, and sawflies.

It has been steered that this species could also be a spruce budworm specialist, however, there is no such thing as an apparent connection between inhabitants traits of the 2 species.

The blackpoll will go for berries in migration and through winter. They typically forage high in trees and generally catch bugs whereas in flight.

Mostly bugs and berries. During the breeding season eats aphids, scale bugs, caterpillars, beetles, gnats, mosquitoes, cankerworms, sawflies, wasps, ants, termites, and different bugs.

Also eats spiders and their eggs, pokeberries, and some seeds. In migration, famous feeding on spiders, aphids, and scale bugs discovered on citrus and native crops in Florida.

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Feeding Behavior

Forages in a deliberate method, creeping alongside on branches within the tops of taller timber, gleaning bugs from bark, leaves, and twigs. Also flies out to catch flying bugs. In migration, could forage ceaselessly with different warblers.

Blackpoll Warbler Reproduction

Their breeding habitats are coniferous woodlands, particularly these during which spruce timber develops. The bird’s breeding ranges prolong to the taiga.

Blackpoll warblers generally nest in a comparatively low site of a conifer. They lay 3–5 eggs in a cup-shaped nest, hardly ever as much as 9.

The eggs are incubated for around 12 days and the younger depart the nest when they’re solely 10 days old before they will fly nicely.

Their parents feed them for a total of around two weeks. Mated females normally start second nests right away and depart post-fledging parental duties to their mates.

The high incidence of double brooding, coupled with and partly an operation of low nest predation and parasitism charges, ends in high annual productiveness for this species.

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4-5, generally 3. Off-white, with brown and lavender spots. Incubation in all probability about 12 days, by a female. The male feeds feminine on the nest throughout incubation.

Young: Fed by each parent. Leave nest 11-12 days after hatching. 1 brood per year, generally 2.


Fed by each parent. Leave nest 11-12 days after hatching. 1 brood per year, generally 2.

Blackpoll Warbler Nesting

A couple of males have more than one mate per nesting season. Females return to the nest site of the earlier year and mate with the male holding that territory, whether or not or not he’s already mated.

Courtship and nest constructing are deliberate and protracted, and start later within the season than in most warblers.

Nest: Placed next to the trunk, on horizontal branch, normally 2-12′ above the ground, hardly ever more than 30′ up. The site is situated within the understory of younger spruce or fir saplings, generally in alder thickets.

Bulky open cup (constructed by feminine) is fabricated from twigs, bark, sprays of spruce, grass stems, weeds, moss, and lichens; lined with feathers, hair, rootlets.

Blackpoll Warbler Facts

The song of the Blackpoll Warbler will put your listening to to the check. Most birds sing at a frequency between 1,000 Hz and eight,000 Hz, however, the Blackpoll’s song can attain 10,000 Hz, even higher than the song of a Brown Creeper.

Blackpoll Warblers are long-distance athletes and so they maintain the document for the longest overwater flight for a songbird.

During the autumn, these half-ounce warblers fly nonstop for as many as 3 days, protecting on average over 1,800 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to achieve their wintering grounds in Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, and northern South America. Such a journey requires that they eat sufficiently before they depart to double their body mass.

Food and endurance shouldn’t be all it takes for the Blackpoll Warbler to finish its epic journey, additionally, they benefit from the prevailing winds following chilly fronts to present them a lift as they head south.

Blackpoll Warblers fly unbelievable distances—particularly those that nest in western Canada, farthest from the wintering grounds.

Those birds are likely to have longer wings than these nesting in eastern Canada. Longer wings could imply that they will fly quicker or more effectively to achieve their distant wintering grounds.

Children typically are taught their environment by exploring, and younger Blackpoll Warblers could do the identical factor.

Researchers discovered that before younger Blackpoll Warblers headed south they frolicked exploring the neighborhood may be to assist them to discover a territory the next summer.

The oldest recorded Blackpoll Warbler was a male, and at the least eight years, 1-month-old, when he was recaptured and rereleased throughout banding operations in Alaska in 2006. He had been banded in an identical state in 1999.


Blackpoll Warbler Migration

The blackpoll warbler’s transoceanic flight has been the subject of over twenty-five scientific research. Sources of knowledge embrace radar observations, bird banding and weights taken, useless birds recovered from area sites, and deadly obstacles.

It is unknown in the event that they feed on bugs whereas in flight. Blackpoll warblers have the longest migration of any species of New World warbler.

This is probably going the explanation that they’re one of many later warblers to seem in spring migration, after one or more quick overwater flights and a comparatively extended motion overland after by North America anytime from early May to mid-June.

The peak of their migration is in late May when most warblers are on their breeding grounds.

In the autumn the birds migrate from their breeding grounds throughout the northern latitudes.

They converge on the Northeastern United States south to Virginia beginning in mid-August. Most blackpolls fly straight from northeastern North America over the Atlantic Ocean to their winter range.

To accomplish this flight, the blackpoll warbler practically doubles its body mass in staging areas and takes the benefit of a shift in prevailing wind course to direct it to its vacation spot.

When they fly southward over the Atlantic they burn, 0.08 g of fats each hour. This route averages 3,000 km (1,900 mi) over water, requiring a doubtlessly nonstop flight of around 72 to 88 hours.

They travel at a pace of about 27 mph (43 km/h). Blackpolls can weigh more than 20 g (0.71 oz) once they depart the United States and lose Four or more grams by the point they attain South America.

Some of the blackpolls land in Bermuda before happening. Some birds, typically with lower body weights, don’t make it.

Using a tiny light level geolocator biologists have confirmed that the black ballot flies an average of 2540 km (2270 to 2770 km) continuously over an average of 62 h, as much as three days, similar to about 41 km/h.

In 2013, 37 blackpolls from Vermont and Nova Scotia carried a miniaturized geolocator weighing 0.5 g with harness on their back.

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