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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Setophaga pensylvanica ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A common bird of second growth and scrubby forests, the Chestnut-sided Warbler is distinctive in appearance. No other warbler combines a greenish-yellow cap, a white breast, and reddish streaks down the sides.

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Appearance

Warblers
Warblers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Forehead yellow.
  • Black mustache stripe on face.
  • Underparts white.
  • Chestnut streak along sides.

Male Description

Breeding (Alternate) plumage: Crown bright yellow, with white edge at front. Nape pale gray streaked with black. Back striped yellow and black. Tail blackish. Black stripe from bill to behind eye. Black mustache stripe. Cheek white. Throat, chest, belly, and under tail white. Sides with long narrow chestnut streak. Two broad yellowish wingbars. Flight feathers outlined in pale yellow or white.
Nonbreeding (Basic) plumage: Back, nape, and crown yellowish green. Some dark streaking on rump. Sides of head and neck pale gray. White eyering. Underparts dull white. Long thin streak of chestnut along sides. Two broad yellowish wingbars. Flight feathers outlined in pale yellow or white. Eyes dark. Legs dark.

Female Description

Breeding (Alternate) plumage: Chestnut streak on sides less extensive than on male. Wings with two broad yellowish wingbars. Crown greenish yellow. Dull black or slaty line through eye. Dull black or slaty mustache stripe. Cheek whitish. Back green with black streaks.
Nonbreeding (Basic) plumage: Back, nape, and crown yellowish green. Some dark streaking on rump. Sides of head and neck pale gray. White eyering. Underparts dull white. Thin streak of chestnut along sides; may be absent. Two broad yellowish wingbars. Flight feathers outlined in pale yellow or white. Eyes dark. Legs dark.

Immature Description

Immature resembles fall adult, but streaks on back finer. Immature female without chestnut on sides.

Range Map Help

Chestnut-sided Warbler Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • 1st winter

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    1st winter
  • Adult Male Breeding

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    Adult Male Breeding
  • Adult Male Breeding

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    Adult Male Breeding
  • 1st Winter

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    1st Winter
  • Adult Male Nonbreeding

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    Adult Male Nonbreeding
    • © Kelly Azar, Ridley Creek SP, Pennsylvania, September 2010
  • Adult Breeding

    Chestnut-sided Warbler

    Adult Breeding

Similar Species

Similar Species

  • Bay-breasted Warbler also has chestnut on sides, but in breeding plumage face is dark and throat and crown are chestnut. In nonbreeding plumage Bay-breasted is dusky underneath and lacks the bright yellow-green of a chestnut-sided.

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