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Magnolia Warbler


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Magnolia Warbler is a handsome and familiar warbler of the northern forests. Though it often forages conspicuously and close to the ground, we have relatively scant information on its nesting behavior.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
4.3–5.1 in
11–13 cm
6.3–7.9 in
16–20 cm
0.2–0.5 oz
6–15 g
Other Names
  • Paruline à tête cendrée (French)
  • Reinita Colifajeada, Verdin de los magnolias (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Though it has very specific habitat preferences in the breeding season, the Magnolia Warbler occupies a very broad range of habitats in winter:  from sea level to 1,500 meters elevation, and most landscape types, except cleared fields.
  • The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time.
  • The male Magnolia Warbler has two songs. The first song, issued in courtship and around the nest, consists of three short phrases with an accented ending. The second song, possibly issued in territory defense against other males, is similar to the first but is sweeter and less accented.
  • The oldest recorded Magnolia Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 11 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ontario.



Breeds in small conifers, especially young spruces, in purely coniferous stands or mixed forest.



Insect larvae, adult insects, and spiders.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–5 eggs
Egg Description
White, with variable speckles or spots.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with tufts of black down.
Nest Description

A loose cup of grasses on a foundation of twigs, lined with black rootlets. Usually located on a horizontal tree branch near trunk, less than 3 m (10 ft) from the ground.

Nest Placement



Foliage Gleaner

Gleans insects primarily from the undersides of conifer needles and broadleaf foliage.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Magnolia Warbler populations were stable, and appear to have slightly increased between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 40 million, with 4% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 37% in Mexico, and 96% breeding in Canada. The species rates a 7 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Magnolia Warbler is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.




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