Hermit Warbler – Profile | Facts | Call | Song | Traits | Range

Hermit Warbler

Hermit Warbler is a small, yellow-headed bird with distinctive, unstreaked flanks. They are white under and grey above, with white outer tail feathers and two white wing-bars. Males have black throats.

Hermit Warbler profile

Females’ throats are grayish, with some black. In components of Washington, Hermit Warblers hybridize with Townsend’s Warblers, leading to birds with plumage intermediate between the 2 species.


The hermit warbler is a small songbird that breeds in most components of the Pacific Coast from California up via Oregon and Washington in addition to alongside the Sierra Nevada.

It prefers to inhabit dense, moist, coniferous forests, notably favoring fir, hemlock, and cedar timber alongside the coast or in mountainous areas. It spends the winters in southern California and down into Central America as far south as Panama.

Hermit Warbler Overview

This warbler nests in forests of fir, hemlock, and different conifers, within the mountains and alongside the coast, from California north to Washington. It additionally winters regionally on the California coast, virtually all the time in conifers.

No more of a “hermit” than different warblers, it typically joins combined flocks of birds within the mountain pine forests throughout the migration.

This species is carefully associated with Townsend’s Warbler, and the 2 typically interbreed the place their ranges meet in Washington and Oregon.

The hermit warbler is a small songbird with a shiny yellow head. The breeding male has a black nape that extends up onto the crown to varied minor degrees.

Its chin, throat, and higher chest are black and underparts are white. Its upperparts are a darkish grey with black streaks and it has two thick, white wing bars.

The feminine hermit warbler is often a duller model of the male. It has much less black on its throat and nape and a duller facemask. The Hermit Warbler is carefully associated with Townsend’s warbler and the 2 typically interbreed.

The hermit warbler, scientific name Setophaga occidentalis is a small perching bird. It is a species of New World warbler.

hermit warbler hermit warbler song


  • Length: 5.5 in (14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9 in (20 cm)

Hermit Warbler Description

Hermit warblers are darkish grey in coloration on top, and white under, and their flanks are streaked with black. The wings have two diagonal white wing bars.

The majority of the hermit warbler’s head is yellow, and males have a darkish black throat, whereas females have a lot much less black on their throat bib and immature birds don’t have any black throat.

Hermit warblers are frequent, however extremely shy, birds that dwell in open coniferous forests. Their summer season breeding range is almost all of the west coast of the United States as much as Washington.

They will typically winter in south-west California, however, they’re migratory and can winter in Central America as far south as Panama.

Nests are neat and cup-shaped, constructed from stems, grass, twigs, and pine needles positioned close to the tip of a branch high in a conifer tree.

The feminine will lay between 3 and 5 eggs, that are white in coloration and closely noticed with brown and lilac speckles. Other incubations and nesting habits are principally unknown.

Like most warblers the hermit warbler eats a strict diet of bugs and spiders, and may typically be discovered hanging upside-down from the ends of conifer branches, like a chickadee, probing for meals.


Males arrive on the breeding grounds in early May and set up territories by singing. The first eggs are laid by the first part of June. Nest: Typical site is on horizontal branch, effectively out from the trunk and 20-40′ above the ground.

The nest is a compact, deep, open cup of fibrous weeds stalks, pine needles, twigs, lichen, moss, cobwebs, and lined with comfortable materials corresponding to comfortable bark, feathers, and animal hair. The female alone builds the nest.

Hermit Warbler Call

The Hermit Warbler is a habitat specialist. During breeding, it’s most frequently discovered within the inside of cool, moist, mature coniferous forests, from sea level into the mountains.

It is most ample in stands over 30 years old and isn’t typically present in stands underneath 20 years old, or in stands that have been extensively thinned.

As the Hermit Warbler normally resides high within the cover, it’s more typically heard than seen. The male’s variable song is multi-part, consisting of three or Four buzzy notes—“zeegle zeegle zeegle”—; adopted by a rising-and-falling ending phrase—“zee-o-seet.”

hermit warbler hermit warbler song

Hermit Warbler Habitat

Conifer forests; in migration, conifers and deciduous woods. Breeds principally in moist, dense forests close to sea level, particularly in forests of Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western redcedar.

Also nests in cooler, wetter forests of fir and different timber at higher elevations. In winter present in pine-oak forests of mountains in Mexico, additionally in oaks and conifers alongside California coast.

The Hermit Warbler is a State of the Birds western forest obligate species, which means that it’s depending on coniferous forest habitats. It can be a Partners in Flight Watchlist Species.

Partners in Flight’s Conservation Strategy for Landbirds in Coniferous Forests of Oregon and Washington identifies the Hermit Warbler as a focal species for mature, multi-layered, closed cover forests.

Through enhancing habitat situations for Hermit Warbler, it’s thought that different species that depend upon older coniferous forest habitats can even profit.


Mostly bugs. Has been noticed feeding on caterpillars, tiny beetles, and flying bugs; additionally small spiders.

Feeding Behavior

Forages primarily within the cover of tall timber, typically as much as 200′ above the ground. Males typically forage higher than females. Takes bugs from twigs whereas perching and whereas hovering, and flies out to catch bugs in mid-air.

Moves from the trunk of the tree out to branch ideas, then begin once more at the trunk. Will dangle from twigs like a chickadee. In migration and winter, typically forages in flocks with different birds.

Hermit Warbler Breeding

During the breeding season, the Hermit Warbler (Dendroica occidentalis) could be present in coniferous forests alongside the west coast of Oregon, Washington, and California, within the Cascade Mountains of western Oregon and Washington, and in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

This species winters in montane pine, pine-oak, and cloud forests of Mexico and Central America via Nicaragua. A small, insectivorous warbler, it has a yellow head, white underparts, and grey upperparts.

Males have black throats, whereas females’ throats are grayish, with some black. The species is thought to hybridize with Townsend’s Warblers, leading to birds with plumage traits of each species.


4-5, typically 3. Creamy, with positive brown flecks in a wreath at the bigger end. Incubation might be by each parent, most likely about 12 days.

This species apparently is nearly by no means parasitized by cowbirds. Young: Fed by the feminine and presumably by the male as effectively. Young go away the nest 8-10 days after hatching.


Fed by the feminine and presumably by the male as effectively. Young go away the nest 8-10 days after hatching.

Hermit Warbler Nesting

The hermit warbler builds its nest on a tree branch about 20 to 40 feet above the ground. The feminine builds a compact open cup form made from twigs, moss, pine needles, and bark, webs lined with feathers and hair.

The feminine lays Four to five eggs which are creamy-white with brown speckles circling on the bigger end. Both parents incubate the eggs for around 12 days before hatching. The feminine, and presumably the male, feed the younger before they go away the nest after 8 to 10 days.

hermit warbler hermit warbler song


There is concern that the Hermit Warbler could also be declining as a consequence of the intensive lack of mature forest habitats. The 2011 State of the Birds report signifies that National Forests help 51% of Hermit Warblers breeding within the United States.

This high level of stewardship accountability offers the U.S. Forest Service a novel alternative to reverse potential declines in Hermit Warblers via acceptable forest management that can, in flip, enhance habitat situations for a wide range of western forest obligate species.


Protecting and restoring the Hermit Warblers’ habitat all through its breeding range would require collaborations amongst non-governmental organizations like KBO, the Forest Service, and different private and non-private forest managers in Oregon, Washington, and California.

Broader collaborations amongst worldwide companions can even be necessary to make sure connectivity between Hermit.

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