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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

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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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
4.3 in
11 cm
Weight
0.2–0.3 oz
6–9 g
Other Names
  • Fauvette des prés (French)
  • Verdín des las praderas (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The male Prairie Warbler sings two song types, which closely resemble each other but differ subtly in volume and speed. The faster "Group A" song is directed at the female, for courtship and maintenance of the pair bond. The "Group B" song is sung at territory boundaries to deter other males.
  • Female Prairie Warblers commonly eat the eggshells after their young hatch, consuming the shells in 15 to 90 seconds.
  • The Prairie Warblers living in the Florida mangroves are considered to be a separate subspecies from the more widespread migratory ones. The Florida birds are slightly larger and have larger white spots in their tails.

Habitat


Open Woodland

Various shrubby habitats, including regenerating forests, open fields, and Christmas-tree farms. Florida residents live in mangrove forests.

Food


Insects

Insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–5 eggs
Egg Description
Pale brownish or gray, often with a ring of spots near one end and more spots scattered over the rest of the shell.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless, with some gray down.
Nest Description

Open cup of long plant fibers and other material, lined with fine grasses, mosses, and feathers, placed in trees or shrubs, usually less than 3 m (10 ft) from ground.

Nest Placement

Shrub

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Gleans from leaves and branches. Sometimes hawks insects in the air.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Declining throughout most of range. Declines largely attributable to loss of breeding habitat through development and natural change of shrubby habitat to forest.

Credits

  • Nolan, V., Jr., E. D. Ketterson, and C. A. Buerkle. 1999. Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor). In The Birds of North America, No. 455 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Prairie Warbler Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings