Chestnut-Sided Warbler – Profile | Female | Song | Nest | Range

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler breeding adults have a yellowish crown, black eye line and mustache mark, darkish wings with two pale-yellow wing-bars, chestnut on the perimeters, white underparts, and a streaked back.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler profile

Immature (first-fall) birds are a lot plainer, with a greenish crown and back, grey underparts, and a distinguished white eye-ring. Fall adults are just like immatures however often present some chestnut on the perimeters.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler Overview

In leafy second-growth woods, clearings, and thickets, this warbler is commonly frequent, hopping about within the saplings with its tail cocked up at a jaunty angle.

It is seemingly a lot more quite a few at this time than it was traditionally: John James Audubon, roaming eastern North America within the early 1800s, noticed this bird solely.

The reduction of forests evidently has created more brushy habitat for Chestnut-sided Warblers, even because it has made different birds much less frequent.

Chestnut-sided Warblers nest in forests from eastern Alberta throughout southern Canada to Nova Scotia, the higher Midwest, and the northeastern U.S., and southward alongside the Appalachian backbone.

They winter in southern Mexico and Central America, migrating largely east of the Great Plains and in direct flight throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

However, this is likely one of the commoner “eastern” warblers encountered within the West. British Columbia has many data from all areas of the province, together with confirmed breeding. Idaho has about 30 data equally divided between spring and fall.

Geographic Range

During the breeding season (spring-summer), the chestnut-sided warbled might be present in northern hardwood and blended forests of southern Canada and the northeastern United States. It spends the winter in Central America.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler Description

The crisply plumaged Chestnut-sided Warbler isn’t your average warbler of the deep forest. These slender, yellow-capped and chestnut-flanked songsters thrive in younger, regrowing forests, thickets, and different disturbed areas.

Look for them foraging among the many positive branches of slender saplings, tail cocked, and pay attention for males singing an excitable happy, happy, happy to meetcha!

In fall, this bird molts into lime-green and grayish-white plumage with a particular white eyering, and heads to thickets, shade-coffee plantations, and second-growth forest in Central America.

This species is a moderately-sized New World warbler. Despite having a very completely different plumage, it’s considered intently associated with the widespread yellow warbler.

In total, this species measures from 10 to 14 cm (3.9 to 5.5 in) in size and spans 16 to 21 cm (6.3 to 8.3 in) throughout the wings. Bodyweight ranges from 8 to 13.1 g (0.28 to 0.46 oz).

Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.7 to six.8 cm (2.2 to 2.7 in), the tail is 4.2 to 5.8 cm (1.7 to 2.3 in), the bill is 0.9 to 1 cm (0.35 to 0.39 in), and the tarsus is 1.7 to 1.9 cm (0.67 to 0.75 in).

In the summer, male chestnut-sided warblers are unmistakable in look. They display dark-streaked grey backs, white faces, black eyestripes, and greenish crowns.

Their underparts are white, with chestnut flanks, they usually even have two white wing bars. The adult females resemble washed-out variations of the summer male, and specifically, the females lack the sturdy head pattern, and now have little to no chestnut coloring on their flanks.

Non-breeding birds of each sex have greenish heads and greenish upperparts that are often unstreaked. They even have unstreaked pale gray breasts.

Their wing bars are at all times present of their plumages. Their lack of streaking and greenish backs helps to differentiate this species from the bigger blackpoll warbler within the fall.

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The chestnut-sided warbler is believed to be monogamous. It is very territorial in the course of the breeding season.

It is a nocturnal migrant. During migration, it might be a part of different flocks and sometimes forage with them. Males produce two-song courses.

The first is used before the arrival of the females and within the early nesting cycle. The second is used whereas elevating younger. Young birds study songs from adults.


Slashings, bushy pastures. Habitat specialist, increasing range since 19th century as forests had been lower over within the eastern United States.

Breeds in second-growth deciduous woods, overgrown fields, and edge habitat. Prefers brushy thickets, briers, and brambles. Winters in tropics in forest edge and second growth.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler Sound

The songs are high whistled strains typically described as happy, happy, happy to MEECHA. This accented song is used primarily to draw a feminine and reduce in frequency as soon as nesting is nicely beneath approach.

Males additionally sing unaccented songs (without the MEECHA on the end) and these are used largely in territory protection and aggressive encounters with different males. Some males sing solely unaccented songs, and they’re much less profitable at securing mates than males that sing each song.

Their calls are harsh chips. Despite the truth that songs for courtship don’t range throughout small distances, songs for aggression are extremely localized, a possible rationalization being that feminine Chestnut-sided Warblers disperse over long distances.


Mostly bugs. During nesting season, identified to eat caterpillars, flies, small moths, small grasshoppers, beetles, spiders; additionally just a few berries. May eat barely more berries in winter within the tropics, however, bugs nonetheless make up over 90% of diet then.

Feeding Behavior

Forages by hopping actively amongst branches of shrubs and small timber, looking for bugs amongst leaves and twigs, hovering momentarily to take gadgets from foliage. Typically takes bugs from the undersides of leaves. Also darts out to catch flying bugs in mid-air.


Usually 4, generally 3-5. Whitish with brown markings. Incubated 11-12 days by the feminine. Cowbirds continuously lay eggs in the nests of this species. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young depart the nest about 10-12 days after hatching.


Both parents feed the nestlings. Young depart the nest about 10-12 days after hatching.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler Nesting

Male sings to defend nesting territory. During courtship, the male shows to the feminine by fluffing his plumage, elevating his yellow crown feathers, spreading and vibrating his wings and tail.

Nest: Placed in low dense shrubs or tangles, comparable to blackberry or rhododendron, or in deciduous saplings, comparable to alder or maple.

Loosely constructed open cup nest (constructed by the feminine) is a product of cedar or grapevine bark strips, fibrous weeds, grasses, roots, and positive plant down, lined with positive grass and animal hair. Nest could also be hooked up to twigs with spiderwebs.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler Reproduction

The chestnut-sided warbler is believed to be monogamous. They can reproduce in their first year. After coming back from winter migration and before the females arrive, males set up territory by steady singing and aggression.

Once females arrive, males act very aggressively at first. After copulation, the male follows the feminine, apparently guarding her. A feminine constructs a nest fully on her personal in deciduous timber or shrubs.

She additionally incubates the eggs alone. Eggs are laid mid-May to mid-July. On average, there are about 4 eggs per brood and just one brood is reared per season. Both parents take care of the younger.

At first, they feed the younger by regurgitation, then because the younger develop into older they’re fed small bugs. Both parents assist in eradicating waste from the nest.

When they first hatch, the younger are altricial. They experience fast growth within the first week and are able to fly on a ninth day.

They often depart the nest on the tenth or eleventh day and transfer to low open thickets the place they wait to be fed. They proceed to beg for meals till they’re about one month old.

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Chestnut-Sided Warbler Facts

In 2018, a ravishing however puzzling hybrid warbler turned up in Pennsylvania. After a lot of statements and examination, Cornell Lab researcher David Toews and colleagues decided it was the first identified “triple hybrid” warbler: the offspring of a male Chestnut-sided Warbler and a feminine “Brewster’s Warbler,” which is itself a hybrid of Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers. Toews christened the person “Burket’s Warbler,” in honor of the citizen scientist who documented it fastidiously on his family property.

On the wintering grounds in Central America, the Chestnut-sided Warbler joins in mixed-species foraging flocks with the resident antwrens and tropical warblers. Individual warblers return to the identical areas year after year, becoming a member of back up with the identical foraging flock it related to the year before.

The Chestnut-sided Warbler sings two fundamental songs: one is accented on the end (the pleased-to-meetcha song), and the opposite isn’t. Males sing the accented songs primarily to draw a feminine; as soon as nesting is nicely underway they swap over to the unaccented songs, that are used largely in territory protection and aggressive encounters with different males. Some males sing solely unaccented songs, and they’re much less profitable at securing mates than males that sing each song.

The oldest recorded Chestnut-sided Warbler was no less than 6 years, 11 months old when it was present in Rhode Island in 1980. It had been banned in the same state in 1973.

Where to find Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Stay around clearings, highway edges, or different disturbed sites with younger deciduous timber to search out Chestnut-sided Warblers. Listen out for his or her sweetly sung happy, happy, happy to meetcha!, more emphatic than Yellow Warbler and more musical than American Redstart.

Look for this bird foraging, typically with its tail raised and wings drooped, among the many outer branches of shrubs and small timber, typically decrease than different warblers. They typically come nearer to research quiet pishing sounds.


Studies have been performed on the impact of pesticides on the chestnut-sided warbler. They present that the birds nonetheless forage in handled areas, however, return in fewer numbers in following years.

It has been recommended that as a result of the chestnut-sided warbler forages on the undersides of leaves, it might be much less affected than different species in handled areas.

It has been reported that a lot of chestnut-sided warblers are killed in collisions with stationary objects. Many are discovered useless on the base of TV towers, smokestacks, and huge buildings throughout the migration.

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