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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Blackpoll Warbler

Setophaga striata ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

One of the most common birds of the northern boreal forest, the Blackpoll Warbler flies all the way to South America to spend the winter.

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Appearance

Warblers
Warblers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Breeding male with black cap, white cheek, black mustache stripe, and white throat.
  • White chest with thin black stripes down sides.
  • Two white wingbars.
  • Fall birds greenish on back and chest, with faint chest stripes.

Male Description

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Back cap, white cheek, black mustache stripe, white throat, white chest with thin black stripes down sides. Two white wingbars. Back gray with black stripes. Tail dark with white spots on corners. Legs and feet orange-yellow.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Lacks black crown. Crown, nape, and upperparts yellowish olive-green, streaked with black. Chest pale yellow, faintly streaked with dark. Rump grayish and unstreaked. Indistinct yellow eyestripe. Wings and tail blackish. Two broad white wingbars on each wing.

Female Description

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Back and wings gray to olive-green, with blackish streaks on crown, nape, and back. Pale whitish eyestripe. Two white wingbars. Tail with white spots. Legs and feet orange-yellow.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Grayish olive on back, with blackish streaks. Chest and face pale yellowish, with faint streaks on chest.

Immature Description

Similar to fall adults, but duller and with less streaking. Legs may be dark, but soles of feet are orange-yellow.

Range Map Help

Blackpoll Warbler Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Breeding male

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Breeding male
    • Stocky warbler with black cap, contrasting with white cheeks
    • Black streaks along sides of throat and flanks, and on back
    • Two white wing-bars
    • Bright yellow feet/legs
    • © Guy Lichter, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, May 2011
  • Breeding female

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Breeding female
    • Stocky warbler with long bill
    • Gray back and wings with thin black streaking on crown, nape and flanks
    • Bright yellow-orange feet/legs
    • Two white wing-bars
    • © Danny Bales, May 2008
  • Female/immature male

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Female/immature male
    • Stocky warbler with long bill
    • Dull olive upper-parts with paler yellow-green on face and breast
    • Thin black streaks on back
    • Two white wing-bars
    • © Jeremiah Trimble, Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 2013
  • Breeding male

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Breeding male
    • Stocky warbler with long bill
    • Bold black cap contrasts with white cheeks
    • Black streaks on sides of throat, flanks, and back
    • Two white wing-bars
    • © Ashley Northcotte, Point Pelee, Ontario, Canada, May 2013
  • Female/immature male

    Blackpoll Warbler

    Female/immature male
    • Long bill
    • Olive above, paler yellow on face and throat
    • Thin black streaks on back
    • Two thin white wing-bars
    • © Corey Hayes, London, Ontario, Canada, September 2013

Similar Species

  • Female/immature male

    Bay-breasted Warbler

    Female/immature male
    • Very similar to nonbreeding/juvenile Blackpoll Warbler
    • Buffy/rufous wash on flanks in some individuals
    • Brighter green above than Blackpoll Warbler
    • Dark legs/feet
    • © Christopher L. Wood, Ithaca, New York, October 2010
  • Breeding male

    Black-and-white Warbler

    Breeding male
    • Black-and-white stripes on crown and back
    • Males show dark throat and cheek patch
    • Creeps along tree trunks like a nuthatch or woodpecker
    • © Matt Bango, Central Park, New York, New York, May 2009
  • Female

    Pine Warbler

    Female
    • Lacks streaking on back
    • Thicker bill
    • © Dawn Vornholt, Atlanta, Georgia, December 2010

Similar Species

  • Black-and-white Warbler has a striped crown and a black-and-white striped back; male has dark throat and face patch.
  • In fall, very similar to Bay-breasted Warbler, which has some buff or rufous along sides, is brighter green on back, mostly lacks streaking on underparts, has buff undertail coverts, less defined eyestripe, and dark legs and feet.
  • Pine Warbler is unstreaked on back.

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