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Lucy's Warbler


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

One of the smallest warblers, the Lucy's Warbler is a bird of the hot Sonoran desert. It occupies the driest habitat of all the warblers breeding in that area.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
3.5–4.7 in
9–12 cm
0.2–0.3 oz
5–8 g
Other Names
  • Paruline de Lucy (French)
  • Chipe rabadilla rufa, Gusanero de Lucy, Chipe rabadillicastño (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Lucy's Warbler is one of only two warblers that breeds in cavities. (The Prothonotary Warbler is the other.) If using a woodpecker hole, the warbler may fill the cavity nearly to the top with debris and put the nest on top so the bird can see out.
  • The Lucy's Warbler nests in some of the densest aggregations of any warbler: up to 12.5 pairs/ha (5 pairs/acre). In the highest density areas the close proximity of singing males makes censusing them nearly impossible because their songs overlap so much.
  • The oldest recorded Lucy's Warbler was a male, and at least 5 years, 10 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Arizona.


Open Woodland

Breeds in riparian mesquite woodlands.





Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–7 eggs
Egg Description
White with fine reddish spots concentrated at large end.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Nest in cavity, well woven of twigs, weed stalks, straw, mesquite leaf stems, lined with fine bark, plant fibers, hair, and feathers. Nest placed behind loose bark of tree or in cavities in trees or cactus. Also in abandoned Verdin nests.

Nest Placement



Foliage Gleaner

Forages in tops of mesquite trees and at the ends of branches. Catches and shakes caterpillars before swallowing.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Lucy's Warbler populations remained stable between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 3 million, with 80% spending at least part of the year in the U.S., and 98% in Mexico. The species rates a 13 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Lucy's Warbler is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. The species is threatened by the loss of riparian habitat throughout their range.


Range Map Help

View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Backyard Tips

Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.



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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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