- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Parulidae
The Blue-winged Warbler sings a distinctive bee-buzz from brushy fields. It dangles from branches and leaves, foraging like a chickadee but shows off bright warbler plumage: a yellow belly, yellow-olive back, and white wingbars across blue-gray wings. A shrubland and old field specialist, it has benefited from landscape changes over the last 150 years as forest clearcuts and agricultural fields have grown up into scrubby fields. These changes have helped it expand northward, where it now hybridizes with and possibly threatens the much rarer Golden-winged Warbler.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Like many warblers, finding this bird is easier during the early part of the breeding season when they are singing their hearts out. The Blue-winged Warbler's distinctive, raspy bee-buzz is the key. Males tend to sing from exposed perches in taller shrubs or trees at the edges of forests, fields, and thickets. During migration they may turn up in gardens and parks as well, but spring migration may be the better time to look for them because they are more vocal during spring than fall migration.
- Reinita Aliazul (Spanish)
- Paruline à ailes bleues (French)
Blue-winged Warblers do not visit feeders and may only stop off in your yard during migration, but you can still provide habitat for them in your yard by landscaping with native trees and shrubs. Creating a bird-friendly backyard can provide excellent stopover habitat to support warblers as they migrate to and from the breeding grounds. Head on over to Habitat Network to learn about which native species are good matches for your yard and more.
- Cool Facts
- Blue-winged Warblers hybridize extensively with Golden-winged Warblers, giving rise to two distinctive and fairly commonly seen hybrids: "Brewster's" and "Lawrence's" warblers. Brewster's have golden wingbars and a white belly (Golden-winged features), but a white throat (a Blue-winged feature). Lawrence's have a black throat (a Golden-winged feature), but white wingbars and a yellow belly (Blue-winged features).
- Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers look different, sing different songs, occur in somewhat different habitats, and winter in different places. But amazingly, these differences are only skin deep, or rather feather deep—the two species are 99.97% genetically similar, according to research done at the Cornell Lab.
- Blue-winged Warblers have expanded northward as landscapes changed to shrubbier habitats. This northward expansion increased contact and hybridization with Golden-winged Warblers. This hybridization and competition contributes to Golden-winged population declines.
- The oldest recorded Blue-winged Warbler was a male, and at least 9 years old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in New Jersey.