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Prairie Warbler

Setophaga discolor ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A tail-wagging yellow warbler with black streaks down its sides, the Prairie Warbler is found in scrubby fields and forests throughout the eastern and south-central United States, not on the prairies.

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Appearance

Warblers
Warblers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Olive-green upperparts.
  • Yellow throat and belly.
  • Black streaks on face, sides and flanks.
  • Wags tail.

Male Description

Olive-green upperparts, with rufous streaks on back. Bright yellow throat, breast, and belly. Bold black streaks on sides and flanks. Bright yellow eyebrow stripe. Dark line through eye. Yellow crescent under eye, bordered below by dark arc.

Female Description

Dull, unmarked olive upperparts. Dark streaks on sides. Pale yellow underparts. Subtle markings on face, including light arc under eye, bordered below by darker semicircle.

Immature Description

Head gray with whitish around eyes, chest olive-yellow with indistinct dark stripes along sides.

Range Map Help

Prairie Warbler Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Pine Warbler is larger, with grayish wings and two white wingbars, and has only indistinct stripes along sides and does not persistently wag its tail.
  • Palm Warbler has a rufous cap, reddish side streaks, and a dark line through the eye.
  • Magnolia Warbler has darker back, distinct wingbars, a black-tipped tail, and a bright yellow rump.
  • The rare Kirtland's Warbler has black streaks along the sides of a yellow chest and wags its tail, but it has a gray face and back, a thin, broken white eyering, and is larger and heavier.
  • Song of Northern Parula also is an ascending series of buzzy notes, but the parula has a sharp final note at the end of the song, whereas the Prairie Warbler lacks that final sharp note. Often, the Northern Parula song consists of a single, unbroken song which buzzes up the scale whereas the Prairie Warbler has distinctly separate notes, but the Norther Parula can also have distinctly separate notes.