Living Bird Magazine
Living Bird Magazine
Black-throated Blue WarblerSetophaga caerulescens
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Parulidae
A uniquely colored, midnight-blue bird of tangled understories, the male Black-throated Blue Warbler sings a relaxed, buzzy I-am-so-la-zee on warm summer days in Eastern hardwood forests. He’s aptly named, with a midnight blue back, sharp white belly, and black throat. The olive-brown females, while not as dramatically marked as the males, have a unique white square on the wing that readily separates them from other female warblers. This warbler breeds in the East and spends the winter in the Caribbean.More ID Info
Find This Bird
This warbler doesn't spend much time in the treetops, so looking for this bird won't give you a case of warbler neck; look for them in the shrubby understory and lower canopy in larger tracts of forest during the breeding season. During migration, they forage in all types of woodlands, parks, and gardens, still keeping to lower levels compared to some warblers. Unlike other warblers that molt into "confusing fall plumage," male Black-throated Blue Warblers keep their distinctive black-and-blue plumage year-round. The distinctive white square on the wing also helps ID females.
- Reinita Azulada (Spanish)
- Paruline bleue (French)
- Cool Facts
- Male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers look so different that they were originally described as two different species.
- On the wintering grounds males and females use slightly different habitats. The male is most common in forest at lower to middle elevations, while the female uses shrubbier habitat at higher elevations.
- In the Dominican Republic, Black-throated Blue Warblers take advantage of a sweet treat created by insects harvesting tree sap. These insects feed on tree sap and excrete drops of sweet sap or "honeydew" from their back ends that the warblers drink up.
- The oldest Black-throated Blue Warbler was a female, and at least 9 years, 8 months old. She was banded in New Jersey in 1975 and shot in Panama in 1985.