Living Bird Magazine
Cape May WarblerSetophaga tigrina
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Parulidae
The Cape May Warbler breeds across the boreal forest of Canada and the northern United States, where the fortunes of its populations are largely tied to the availability of spruce budworms, its preferred food. Striking in appearance but poorly understood, the species spends its winters in the West Indies, collecting nectar with its unique curled, semitubular tongue.More ID Info
- Reinita Atigrada (Spanish)
- Paruline tigrée (French)
- Cool Facts
- The tongue of the Cape May Warbler is unique among warblers. It is curled and semitubular, and is used to collect nectar during winter.
- The common name of the species comes from Cape May, New Jersey, where Alexander Wilson first described it. After that first time, Cape May Warblers were not recorded in Cape May for more than 100 years.
- The average clutch size of the Cape May Warbler (six) is greater than that of other warblers. This large clutch size may allow Cape May Warbler populations to expand rapidly during outbreaks of their preferred prey, spruce budworms.
- The nest of the Cape May Warbler was not accurately described until the early 20th century.
- The oldest recorded Cape May Warbler was at least 4 years, 3 months old when it was caught and killed by a cat in 1978 in Quebec. It had been banded in Ohio in 1975.