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Black-and-white Warbler

Silhouette WarblersWarblers
Black-and-white WarblerMniotilta varia
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Parulidae

Basic Description

One of the earliest-arriving migrant warblers, the Black-and-white Warbler’s thin, squeaky song is one of the first signs that spring birding has sprung. This crisply striped bundle of black and white feathers creeps along tree trunks and branches like a nimble nuthatch, probing the bark for insects with its slightly downcurved bill. Though you typically see these birds only in trees, they build their little cup-shaped nests in the leaf litter of forests across central and eastern North America.

More ID Info
image of range map for Black-and-white Warbler
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Black-and-white Warblers are fairly common and often intent on foraging along tree limbs, so they don’t tend to be shy. Watch for them creeping fairly rapidly on, around, and under larger branches of taller trees. Black-and-white Warblers are also quite vocal. Their song is thin, almost squeaky, but penetrating, so it’s a good way to find them. Watch for them during migration (especially early in the season): at least one or two are typically found in any reasonably good arrival of migrant warblers.

Other Names

  • Reinita Trepadora (Spanish)
  • Paruline noir et blanc (French)
  • Cool Facts