Magnolia Warbler

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Magnolia Warbler

Setophaga magnolia
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Parulidae
Basic Description

Many male warblers are black and yellow, but Magnolia Warblers take it up a notch, sporting a bold black necklace complete with long tassels, a black mask, and a standout white wing patch. The female lacks the male's bold accoutrements, instead wearing an elegant white eyering on her gray head, 2 thin white wingbars, and yellow underparts with moderate streaking. These boreal warblers breed in dense stands of conifers and stop off in all types of forests during migration, where they forage at the tips of branches.

More ID Info
image of range map for Magnolia WarblerRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

For most of the United States spring and fall is the time to see a Magnolia Warbler as they migrate to and from the breeding grounds in the boreal forest. Even more than the male’s telltale streaky black necklace, it pays to learn the unique undertail pattern—half white, half black—that identifies all plumages of this species. Within trees and shrubs watch for a warbler foraging on the outer edges of the tree, plucking insects from the undersides of leaves.

Other Names
  • Reinita de Magnolia (Spanish)
  • Paruline à tête cendrée (French)

Backyard Tips

Magnolia Warblers do not visit feeders and may only stop off in your yard during migration, but you can still provide habitat for them by landscaping with native trees and shrubs. A bird-friendly backyard full of native trees and shrubs provides an excellent food-rich place for warblers and other migrants to stop and refuel. Head on over to Habitat Network to learn about which native species are good matches for your yard and read more about growing native plants for warblers.

  • Cool Facts