Yellow-throated Warbler Setophaga dominica


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The summary below is an overview from The Birds of North America Online.

BNA Account Authors: Hall, George A.

This attractive warbler is a common woodland bird of the southeastern United States, where its loud, clear song filtering down from leafless trees is one of the earliest signs of spring. The species occupies two distinct habitats: heavily wooded stream bottomlands or swamps, and drier upland pine (Pinus) or mixed pine-hardwood forests. It nests and performs most of its daily activities high in the canopy of these forests. The exact location of nests is usually hard to determine.

This warbler differs in several ways from typical Dendroica warblers. Its breeding range is more southerly, its wintering range more northerly, and it has a more extensive resident population in the southern United States than other members of the genus. Its movements are uncharacteristically deliberate for a warbler, and its principal foraging method is creeper-like, resembling that of the Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia). Such feeding habits, together with an unusually long bill, enable the Yellow-throated Warbler to avoid competition with the sympatric Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus). Other differences include the Yellow-throated Warbler's lack of a Prealternate molt and lack of a second (unaccented) song type.

The Yellow-throated Warbler is now expanding its breeding range northward, recovering some of the range from which it retreated (for unknown reasons) in the early twentieth century. This warbler has been little studied, probably owing to the difficulty of finding its nests in the canopy of tall trees and the even more difficult task of studying the nesting events. Aspects of its biology on its tropical wintering grounds are better known.

Although the Yellow-throated Warbler was first mentioned by Mark Catesby, who called it the Yellow-throated Creeper in reference to its foraging habits, it was first described in a report of a wintering bird on the island of Hispaniola; hence the specific name dominica. An inland race (D. d. albilora) is known in older literature as the Sycamore Warbler, in recognition of its principal habitat.

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© Geoffrey A. Keller

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

Recommended Citation

Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: