Prairie Warbler – Profile | Nest | Female | Song | Traits | Range

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler has a brownish-green back with chestnut streaks, vibrant yellow underparts, black streaking on the perimeters, faint wing bars, a yellow eyebrow and darkish line by the attention, and a yellow cheek patch.

Prairie Warbler profile

Immatures are a lot plainer; seek the advice of discipline guides for separating them from related plumages of different Dendroica warblers.

Among Washington’s commonly occurring warblers, Prairie Warbler may very well be mistaken for Townsend’s Warbler in some plumages.

However, in contrast to Townsend’s it sometimes forages in brush and low branches moderately than high within the cover and bobs it’s tail always.

The prairie warbler is a small warbler with a lemon yellow breast and daring black aspect streaks. When foraging, prairie warblers pump and flit their tails, and in-flight their tails present apparent white outer edges.

Females put on a duller model of the male’s plumage. Remember that the darkish semicircle beneath the prairie warbler’s eyes (most blatant on males) is a particular discipline mark. The tail twitching is one other good discipline mark for this species.

Prairie Warbler Overview

These birds have yellow underparts with darkish streaks on the flanks, and olive upperparts with rusty streaks on the back; they have a yellow line above the attention, a darkish line by it, and a yellow spot beneath it.

These birds have black legs, long tails, two pale wing bars, and skinny pointed payments. Coloring is duller in feminine and immatures.

Not a bird of open prairies, this warbler nests primarily in younger second-growth scrub and densely overgrown fields in eastern North America.

Such habitats are sometimes temporary, and colonies could shift around from year to year. In Florida, more everlasting populations are present in coastal mangroves.

In all of those sun-drenched habitats, the skinny buzzy song of the male appears suited to the glare of scorching summertime days. Prairie Warblers often keep low, shifting about activities within the brush and flicking their tails.

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Prairie Warbler Distribution

The Prairie Warbler nests east of the Great Plains from southern New England and the decrease Midwest to the Gulf Coast, and winters in southern Florida and the West Indies.

It is an unintended fall vagrant within the Pacific Northwest, virtually completely alongside the coast. Oregon has 9 information, British Columbia has three, and Idaho has none.

Washington’s sole record, at Wallula (Walla Walla County) on 20 December 1989, is uncommon however not unparalleled each for its location and for its date.

The Northwest has two different winter information—a bird at Newport, Oregon, 6–26 December 1995, and one other 18 December 1993–25 January 1994 at Masset within the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia.

The solely different information from the inside Northwest has been at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon, on 10 September 1999, and a sight document from 17 June 1977 within the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. The latter can also be the one spring document of Prairie Warbler for the Northwest.

Prairie Warbler Description

Contrary to its name, the Prairie Warbler is a bird of scrubby fields, clear-cuts, and open woods, the place it may be situated by its buzzy, ascending song, tail-pumping behavior, and black-streaked yellow plumage. This species has a daring facial pattern that provides it a “spectacled” look.

Like different early successional species equivalent to Golden-winged and Kirtland’s Warblers, Prairie Warbler numbers have declined on account of habitat change.

Along with different migratory birds, additionally, they face threats starting from collisions with glass to free-roaming cats.

The male Prairie Warbler sings two sorts of songs, that are superficially related however differ in quantity and pace.

One song, sung to the feminine throughout courtship and nesting, helps keep the birds’ pair bond and is demonstrated within the featured multimedia, above. The second sort is sung on the boundaries of the male’s territory to discourage rivals.

The male has olive-green upperparts, with rufous streaks on the back. Bright yellow throat, breast, and stomach. Bold black streaks on sides and flanks. Bright yellow eyebrow stripe. Dark line by eye. Yellow crescent underneath the eye, bordered beneath by darkish arc.

The feminine has boring, unmarked olive upperparts. Dark streaks on sides. Pale yellow underparts. Subtle markings on the face, together with light arc underneath the eye, bordered beneath by darker semicircle.

Prairie Warbler Behavior

These birds wag their tails ceaselessly. Like different neotropical species equivalent to Kentucky, Blackpoll, and Cerulean Warblers, “Prairies” are insectivores, consuming massive portions of caterpillars, moths, beetles, ants, and flies, in addition to spiders and millipedes.

They forage close to the ground, gleaning prey from leaves and branches whereas shifting by the underbrush, tail pumping all of the whereas.

Prairie Warblers additionally dart out to seize flying bugs in mid-air, cling the other way up from the ideas of branches, and fly right down to pluck prey from the ground.


Brushy slashings, bushy pastures, low pines. Breeds in dry old clearings, edges of the forest, and sandy pine barrens with undergrowth of scrub oaks, particularly on ends of slopes and ridges.

Likes thick second-growth of hickory, dogwood, hazel, or laurel with blackberry vines. In Florida, breeds in mangrove swamps. Found in flat, grassy lands with scattered timber and bushes within the South within the winter.


Mostly bugs. Feeds on many bugs together with caterpillars, moths, tree crickets, lacewings, true bugs, beetles, ants, flies; additionally spiders and millipedes. Also eats just a few berries, and sometimes sap from holes drilled in timber by sapsuckers. Nestlings are fed largely caterpillars.

Feeding Behavior

Forages primarily by taking bugs whereas perched or hopping on branches or twigs. Also catches flying bugs in mid-air, and takes bugs from undersides of leaves (and spiders from their webs) whereas hovering.

Will additionally feed often by hanging the other way up from suggestions of branches or by flying down to choose up bugs from the ground.

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Prairie Warbler Vocalizations

Prairie warblers have two classes of songs, known as Type A and Type B. Type A songs are sometimes a collection of ascending buzzy notes. The B songs are an ascending collection of whistled notes that usually comprise some buzzy notes.

Compared to A songs, the B songs are lower in pitch, have fewer, longer notes. The total song size is longer as effectively in Type B songs. The use of those two song classes is related to sure contexts. Songs are sung all through the day when males first arrive on their breeding grounds.

Once males are paired they start to sing B songs through the daybreak refrain after which will intersperse A songs of their singing throughout the remainder of the day.

During this later interval of singing A songs are sometimes used close to females, close to the nest, and within the middle of their territories. In distinction, B songs are used when interacting or preventing with different males and close to the borders of their territories.

Part of their call word repertoire is a tsip call. During daybreak, refrain B songs are interspersed with speedy loud “check” calls.


4, typically 3-5. Off-white, with brown spots concentrated at the bigger end. Incubated by females for often 12 (11-14) days. Commonly parasitized by cowbirds.

Young: Fed by each parent; depart the nest at 8-11 days. Fledglings could also be divided by parents, every adult caring for a part of brood for 40-50 days till younger are impartial. Often 2 broods per season.


Fed by each parent; depart the nest at 8-11 days. Fledglings could also be divided by parents, every adult caring for a part of brood for 40-50 days till younger are impartial. Often 2 broods per season.

Prairie Warbler Nesting

Some males have more than one mate. Often breeds in unfastened colonies. Males return year after year to the identical breeding territory, however, females typically don’t.

Males utter a loud, harsh rattle throughout fights with different males. During courtship, the male performs sluggish butterfly-like display flights; additionally chases feminine.

Nest: Placed in the site chosen by females. Usually in a tree (equivalent to pine, cedar, sweet-gum, oak), 1-45′ above the ground. In coastal Florida, often in mangroves.

Nest (constructed by feminine) an open cup, made from densely felted plant supplies equivalent to plant down, and lined with animal hair.

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The Central Hardwoods Joint Venture, of which ABC is a partner, is actively selling wholesome habitat for this species.

This consists of restoring more than 100,000 acres of woodlands since 2011 and reforesting not too long ago deserted farm fields to creating “glades”—sunny areas throughout the forest—that profit many species.

“The shrubby parts of glades are where the Prairie Warblers breed,” says ABC’s Jane Fitzgerald. “The scattered trees out on the edges of the glade are where you typically find Blue-winged Warblers.

In the open canopies, you’ll see Scarlet Tanagers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Great Crested Flycatchers. If you’re really lucky you might see a Bachman’s Sparrow in the grasses and the wildflowers.” (Read more in our Winter 2013 concern of Bird Conservation.)

Other collaborative efforts, equivalent to our Migratory Bird Program, are specializing in habitat conservation on the bird’s wintering grounds within the Caribbean.

And our advocacy packages, together with Cats Indoors, Collisions, and Bird-Smart Wind, search to scale back or take away among the deadly obstacles confronted by migrating Prairie Warblers and different neotropical birds.

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