Hooded Warbler – Profile | Facts | Female | Nest | Traits | Range

Hooded Warbler

The hooded warbler, scientific name Setophaga citrina is a New World warbler. In all plumages the back is olive, the underparts are yellow, and the tail has massive white spots.

Hooded Warbler profile

The adult male’s black cap, collar, and throat kind a whole “hood” across the yellow brow and face, in opposition to which the big, darkish eye stands out.

The quantity of black varies in different plumages, from fairly intensive in lots of adult females to none in any respect in first-fall females. Some people could look quite like Wilson’s Warbler.

However, Wilson’s is noticeably smaller—half an inch shorter, one-third lighter in weight, shorter-billed—and has no white within the tail. The songs are utterly dissimilar as nicely.

In the forest undergrowth, this skulking warbler appears to call consideration to itself by incessantly fanning its tail rapidly open and shut, flashing the white outer tail feathers.

Hooded Warblers are widespread in moist leafy woodlands of the Southeast. They often keep low within the shadowy understory, foraging actively within the bushes and nesting near the ground, though males will transfer up into the timber to sing.

Hooded Warbler Overview

These birds feed on bugs, which are sometimes present in low vegetation or caught by flycatching. Hooded warblers’ breeding habitats are broadleaved woodlands with dense undergrowth.

These birds nest in low areas of a bush, laying three to 5 eggs in a cup-shaped nest. Hooded warblers are sometimes the victims of brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird, particularly the place the hooded warblers’ forest habitats are fragmented.

In areas with protected woodlands or recovering wooded habitat, the hooded warbler inhabitants are stable and presumably growing.

Its species name citrina means “lemon-colored,” and no North American bird is richer in yellow than a male hooded warbler.

Like many wood-warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and different neotropical migrants, the hooded warbler spends half or more of its year within the tropics, returning to eastern North America to breed.

Yellow, black, and white are the hooded warbler’s signature colors. All are shiny yellow under, have blackish lores (areas between the eyes and payments), and enormous black eyes.

Males have distinctive black hoods operating round their yellow cheeks, from crown to throat.

Females have variable variations of black or blackish hoods, whereas immatures have yellow heads with an olive on their crowns.

Hooded warblers flick their tails to flash their white, outer tail feathers—one other identification clue.


It breeds in eastern North America and throughout the eastern United States and into southernmost Canada (Ontario). It is migratory, wintering in Central America and the West Indies. Hooded warblers are very uncommon vagrants to western Europe.

The Hooded Warbler nests in moist deciduous and blended forests from the decrease Midwest and southern New England to the Gulf Coast. It is a trans-Gulf migrant, wintering principally in southeastern Mexico and on the Caribbean slope of northern Central America.

Hooded Warbler Description

The Hooded Warbler flits by means of shrubby understories in eastern forests, flicking its tail to point out off its white tail feathers. But these flashes should not the one factor that may draw your consideration.

The male’s shiny yellow cheeks and brow surrounded by a black hood and throat will certainly seize you. Females lack the daring black hood, however, their yellow cheeks nonetheless stand out.

Listen for his or her attribute song on the breeding grounds and their metallic chip on the wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America.

The hooded warbler is a small bird and mid-sized warbler, measuring 13 cm (5.1 in) in size and weighing 9–12 g (0.32–0.42 oz). The hooded warbler has a wingspan of 6.9 in (17.5 cm).

It has a plain olive/green-brown back, and yellow underparts. Their outer rectrices have whitish vanes. Males have distinctive black hoods which encompass their yellow faces; the feminine has an olive-green cap that doesn’t prolong to the brow, ears, and throat as a substitute.

Males attain their hood at about 9–12 months of age; youthful birds are basically equivalent to (and simply confused with) females.

The song is a collection of musical notes which sound like: wheeta wheeta whee-tee-oh, for which a typical mnemonic is “The red, the red T-shirt” or “Come to the woods or you won’t see me”. The call of those birds is a loud chip.


This warbler spends a lot of its time within the understory flitting between shrubs and flashing its white outer tail feathers. It tends to remain no less than partially hidden in understory vegetation, leaping as much as take bugs or choosing them from foliage.


You could hear the candy, wealthy weeta-weeta-wiTEEoh of the dazzling hooded warbler.

Hooded Warbler Habitat

Forest undergrowth. Breeds in forest interiors of blended hardwoods within the north and cypress-gum swamps within the south.

During migration, present in deciduous and blended eastern forests. In winter, males compete for territories in humid lowland forests, and females occupy primarily disturbed scrub or secondary forest.

If you need to see a tropical bird without visiting the tropics, head out to a lush forest or swamp with dense undergrowth.

Hooded warblers are widespread in lots of elements of the Southeast, each in lowland areas, akin to cypress swamps and in hilly deciduous forests. In some areas, additionally, they nest in pine woods.

One of the important habitat necessities is dense undergrowth, with bushes that present the cover for these low-feeding, low-nesting birds. In late summertime, hooded warblers migrate south to winter in southern Mexico and Central America.


Insects and different arthropods. Feeds on all kinds of bugs, together with caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, beetles, flies, and lots of others; additionally eats many small spiders.

Much of a hooded warbler’s feeding time is spent low within the bushes, choosing caterpillars, spiders, moths, beetles, flies, and different invertebrates from the leaves.

These very energetic birds dart out to seize prey in flight, briefly hover to seize bugs off leaves, or transfer by means of the branches, grabbing meals as they go.

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Feeding Behavior

Hops on the ground, low branches, or tree trunks whereas feeding, usually gleaning bugs from leaf surfaces in low shrubs. Will additionally make quick flights catch flying bugs within the understory.

Males could forage higher than females when feeding younger. Both sexes preserve well-defined feeding territories throughout winter, giving conspicuous chip callnotes and attacking intruders of their very own species.


Usually 4. Creamy white, with brown spots on the bigger end. Incubation is often by females solely, 12 days. Brown-headed Cowbirds lay eggs in lots of nests (as much as 75% in some areas).

Young: Fed by each parent. Young depart the nest 8-9 days after hatching and may fly 2-3 days later. Fledglings are divided by parents, every adult caring for half the brood for as much as 5 weeks. Often 2 broods per year.


Adult males are olive-green above and shiny yellow under with a black hood and throat, a yellow brow, and yellow cheeks.

Females and immatures are additionally olive-green above and yellow under, however, they do not have a black hood, though some adult females present a top-level view of a hood. Note the big black eye and white outer tail feathers that it usually flashes.


Fed by each parent. Young depart the nest 8-9 days after hatching and mayfly 2-3 days later. Fledglings are divided by parents, every adult caring for half the brood for as much as 5 weeks. Often 2 broods per year.

Hooded Warbler Nesting

Males often return to occupy the identical nesting territory as in earlier years, however, females often transfer to a special territory. Nest: Female chooses a site in patches of deciduous shrubs inside the forest or alongside the sting.

The site often 1-4′ above ground. The nest is an open cup of useless leaves, bark, fantastic grasses, spiderwebs, hair, and plant down. Usually, the feminine does most or the entire constructing.

Hooded warblers often nest in shrubs between 2 and 6 feet above the ground. There, the feminine often constructs a cup nest of useless leaves, bark, grass, and plant fluff.

Dead leaves embellish the surface of the nest, camouflaging it—though cowbirds usually discover hooded warbler nests and lay their eggs there. Snakes and different predators take most of the younger as nicely.

The feminine hooded warbler lays 4 eggs, which she incubates for about 12 days. Both parents feed the younger, which might fly about 10 days after hatching.

Hooded Warbler Facts

Both female and male Hooded Warblers are strongly territorial on their wintering grounds, regardless of utilizing totally different habitats at the moment of the year. Males are present in mature forests, and females within the scrubbier forests and seasonally flooded areas.

Individual male Hooded Warblers every sing a barely totally different song. They are taught to acknowledge their neighbor’s song primarily based not solely on the song itself but additionally on the place the song is coming from. Their potential to acknowledge their neighbor could imply that they should spend much less time on territory protection.

The white spots on a Hooded Warbler’s tail assist them to seize more bugs, presumably by startling the bugs into chickening out. An experimental examination carried out in Pennsylvania discovered that birds with quickly darkened tail feathers had been much less profitable at capturing bugs than those with white spots on their tails.

Male Hooded Warblers usually return to the identical breeding spot year after years—in a single 7-year examination in Pennsylvania, roughly 50% of banded males returned to the realm to breed once more.

The oldest recorded Hooded Warbler was a male, and no less than Eight years, 1 month old when he was recaptured and rereleased throughout banding operations in Louisiana in 2004.

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Considered weak as a result of it’s usually parasitized by cowbirds, particularly the place the forest is damaged up into small patches, and since it favors undergrowth of tropical forest for wintering.

Where to search out Hooded Warbler

This warbler typically hangs out within the understory of forests, which makes it simpler to search out than these canopy-loving warblers.

On the breeding grounds hear for his or her song and look ahead too fast actions within the understory.

They incessantly twitch their tail to disclose white tail flashes that may aid you to find and ID them.

They have a tendency to make use of forests with a well-developed understory, so be looking out for shrubby areas in treefall gaps or alongside edges.

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