Mourning Warbler Life History


Habitat ForestsDisturbed second-growth forested areas, with moderately closed canopy and thick understory. In winter, wet lowlands with thick vegetation.Back to top


Food InsectsPoorly documented. Insects, insect larvae, and spiders during the breeding season. Insects and fruiting bodies on Cecropia tree leaves in winter.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Open cup of grass, leaves, and bark, lined with roots, fine grasses, and hair. Usually placed on or near ground.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-5 eggs
Egg Description:White, speckled with reddish brown and black spots.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with tufts of dark gray down and red mouth.
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Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans insects from branches of shrubs, picking prey with bill. Removes wings and legs of prey before consuming it.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernMourning Warbler populations declined by about 43% between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 17 million with 11% spending some part of the year in the U.S., and 89% breeding in Canada. This species winters in Central and South America. Mourning Warbler rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score It is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Given their preference for disturbed forests, Mourning Warbler populations may have benefited from various human activities that are detrimental to other birds, such as mining, forest clear-cutting, and road-building.Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Pitocchelli, Jay. 2011. Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Stephenson, T. and S. Whittle (2013). The Warbler Guide. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, USA. 

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