Magnolia Warblers breed in dense stands of young conifer trees, especially spruce in the north and hemlock in the south. During migration they forage in dense areas along forest edges, woodlots, and parks. On the wintering grounds, they occur from sea level to 5,000 feet in a variety of areas including cacao plantations, orchards, forests, and thickets.Back to top
Magnolia Warblers primarily eat caterpillars, especially spruce budworm when it is abundant. They also eat insects and spiders and occasionally take fruit in the fall. They tend to forage on the outer edges of branches, searching the undersides of needles and leaves for prey.Back to top
Magnolia Warblers nest in dense conifers such as spruce, balsam fir, and hemlock. The nest is typically on a horizontal branch close to the trunk of the tree and is less than 10 feet above the ground.
Males and females weave together a sloppy and flimsy-looking nest of grasses and weed stalks built on a foundation of twigs. They line the nest with horsehair fungus.
|Clutch Size:||3-5 eggs|
|Number of Broods:||1-2 broods|
|Egg Length:||0.6-0.7 in (1.5-1.8 cm)|
|Egg Width:||0.4-0.5 in (1.1-1.3 cm)|
|Incubation Period:||11-13 days|
|Nestling Period:||8-10 days|
|Egg Description:||White, with variable speckles or spots.|
|Condition at Hatching:||Helpless with tufts of black down.|
Magnolia Warblers hop from branch to branch in dense stands of young conifer trees. They pick insects primarily from the undersides of conifer needles and foliage. Males sing most intensely at dawn and dusk and even sing while foraging. Males court females with song and show off the white spots on their tail, similar to the behavior of an American Redstart. To warn a territory intruder, males also spread their tail, flashing their white tail spots. Males and females maintain a shared territory on the breeding grounds, but separate territories on the wintering grounds. During migration they frequently join foraging flocks of chickadees, and they join mixed-species flocks on the wintering grounds.Back to top
Magnolia Warblers are common, and their populations increased by nearly 1% per year from 1966 to 2019, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 39 million and rates them 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, indicating a species of low conservation concern. Magnolia Warblers, like many songbirds, are often the victim of collisions with tall buildings and TV towers during migration.Back to top
Dunne, P. (2006). Pete Dunne's essential field guide companion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, USA.
Dunn, Erica H. and George A. Hall. (2010). Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.
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