Barbuda Warbler Setophaga subita

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Parulidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Antony W. Diamond

As the only species endemic to the island of Barbuda (State of Antigua and Barbuda), the Barbuda Warbler has a special place in the island's biota, and an important role to play in conservation of Barbuda's biodiversity. They are very active little birds, constantly on the move in the hunt for insects, with a distinctive cocked-tail posture like a wren. They seem equally at home in trees and bushes around the island's only settlement, Codrington Village, in the depths of thorny scrub in the island's interior, and in windswept xeric vegetation close to the coast. The sweet warbling song is as likely to be heard to a background of crowing roosters, braying donkeys, or surf on a sandy shore. Most of the vegetation on Barbuda is infested with grazing and browsing feral mammals - goats, sheep, donkeys, horses and occasional cattle - with little evident effect on the birds.

The population size has been estimated at between 1000 and 2500 birds (del Hoyo et al. 2010); there is no information on population trends. The Near Threatened conservation status reflects the apparently small population, restricted range, and the perception that habitat is threatened by feral mammals, with which the warblers have nevertheless co-existed for many decades.

The Barbuda Warbler has been studied less than either of its close relatives, on Puerto Rico (Adelaide's Warbler, Dendroica adelaidae) and on St. Lucia (St. Lucia Warbler, Dendroica delicata), and is in need of careful study of its habitat requirements, breeding biology, demographics, diet, and possible competitive relationship with Yellow Warblers Dendroica petechia with which it shares coastal habitats.


© Linda Macaulay

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Diamond, A. W. (2011). Barbuda Warbler (Setophaga subita), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.