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Hermit Warbler

Setophaga occidentalis ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A denizen of tall western coniferous forests, the Hermit Warbler is restricted to California, Oregon, and Washington. Because it lives in the tops of some of the tallest trees on the planet, it is more easily heard than seen.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
5.5 in
14 cm
Wingspan
7.9 in
20 cm
Weight
0.3–0.5 oz
9–13 g
Other Names
  • Paruline à tête jaune (French)
  • Chipe cabeza amarilla (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Hermit Warbler hybridizes with the Townsend's Warbler where their ranges overlap in Oregon and Washington. The hybrid zones are rather narrow and appear to be slowly moving, with the more aggressive Townsend's Warbler displacing the Hermit Warbler.
  • Hermit Warbler females have been found to prefer to mate with Townsend's Warbler-type males, but no evidence was found of Townsend's Warbler females mating with Hermit Warbler males.

Habitat


Forest

Tall coniferous forests, especially of Douglas-fir.

Food


Insects

Insects and spiders.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4–5 eggs
Egg Description
Creamy white with fine dark speckles around large end.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with tufts of down.
Nest Description

Open cup of fine twigs, rootlets, dry moss, bark, pine needles, and spider silk. Lined with fine plant fibers and hair. Placed on top of conifer branches, well concealed from above.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Gleans insects of middle and outer portion of tree branches. Often hovers.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations stable. Because of its specialized habitat and its small range, it is considered vulnerable. Townsend's Warbler may be displacing it in parts of the range.

Credits

    1. Pearson, S. F. 1997. Hermit Warbler (Dendroica occidentalis). In The Birds of North America, No. 303 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
    2. Pearson, S. F. 2000. Behavioral asymmetries in a moving hybrid zone. Behavioral Ecology 11: 84-92.
    3. Rohwer, S. and C. Wood. 1998. Three hybrid zones between Hermit and Townsend's warblers in Washington and Oregon. Auk 115: 284-310.

Range Map Help

Hermit Warbler Range Map
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