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Olive Warbler Life History



Olive Warblers occur in open pine forests, pine-oak woodlands, and pine-fir forests. Species of pine found in the areas they occupy include ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Hartweg's pine, Chihuahua pine, Apache pine, and Montezuma pine among others. In Arizona and New Mexico, they typically occur above 6,000 ft.

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Olive Warblers forage for insects among branches and twigs in the canopy. They forage with deliberate hops, probing needle clusters for insects or sallying out to grab an insect.

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Nest Placement


Olive Warblers nest in the canopy of coniferous trees near the end of a branch, often in the last cluster of pine or fir needles. Nests range from 16 to 69 feet above the ground.

Nest Description

Female Olive Warblers gather rootlets, moss, lichens, spiderwebbing, and plant down. She weaves it all together into a cup-shaped nest.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:3-4 eggs
Number of Broods:1 brood
Egg Length:0.6-0.8 in (1.6-1.9 cm)
Egg Width:0.5-0.6 in (1.2-1.6 cm)
Egg Description:

Grayish with heavy olive-brown spotting and speckling.

Condition at Hatching:

Naked with eyes closed.

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Foliage Gleaner

Olive Warblers forage and nest in the canopy of open pine forests. Here they hop slowly along branches, probing clusters of needles or sallying out to grab an insect. They are generally year-round residents, but populations breeding in New Mexico and Arizona may move farther south for the winter. During the winter they join mixed-species foraging flocks with Townsend's Warblers, Crescent-chested Warblers, Pygmy Nuthatches, Mexican Chickadees, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. During the summer they likely form monogamous bonds and may stay together throughout the winter. Pairs keep in touch with each other with soft calls. Males sing from the canopy to announce and defend their territory and chase away intruding males.

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Low Concern

Olive Warblers are common within their range, but are relatively uncommon in the United States. Because they breed in only a small portion of the United States their populations are not monitored by the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 2 million. The species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, which means it is not on the Partners in Flight Watch List and is a species of low conservation concern.

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Dunne, P. (2006). Pete Dunne's essential field guide companion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, USA.

Lowther, Peter E. and Jorge Nocedal. (2012). Olive Warbler (Peucedramus taeniatus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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

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Learn more at Birds of the World