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Prairie Warbler


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A tail-wagging yellow warbler with black streaks down its sides, the Prairie Warbler is found in scrubby fields and forests throughout the eastern and south-central United States, not on the prairies.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
4.3 in
11 cm
0.2–0.3 oz
6–9 g
Other Names
  • Fauvette des prés (French)
  • Verdín des las praderas (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The male Prairie Warbler sings two song types, which closely resemble each other but differ subtly in volume and speed. The faster "Group A" song is directed at the female, for courtship and maintenance of the pair bond. The "Group B" song is sung at territory boundaries to deter other males.
  • Female Prairie Warblers commonly eat the eggshells after their young hatch, consuming the shells in 15 to 90 seconds.
  • The Prairie Warblers living in the Florida mangroves are considered to be a separate subspecies from the more widespread migratory ones. The Florida birds are slightly larger and have larger white spots in their tails.
  • The oldest recorded Prairie Warbler was a male, andat least 7 years, 9 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Connecticut.


Open Woodland

Various shrubby habitats, including regenerating forests, open fields, and Christmas-tree farms. Florida residents live in mangrove forests.



Insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–5 eggs
Egg Description
Pale brownish or gray, often with a ring of spots near one end and more spots scattered over the rest of the shell.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless, with some gray down.
Nest Description

Open cup of long plant fibers and other material, lined with fine grasses, mosses, and feathers, placed in trees or shrubs, usually less than 3 m (10 ft) from ground.

Nest Placement



Foliage Gleaner

Gleans from leaves and branches. Sometimes hawks insects in the air.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Prairie Warbler is declining throughout most of range. The North American Breeding Bird Survey estimates a loss of almost 2% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 66% during that time. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 3.5 million birds, with 100% spending part of the year in the U.S., and 3% in Mexico. It rates the species a 13 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Prairie Warbler is both a Tri-National Concern Species, and a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species. It is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Population declines are largely attributable to loss of breeding habitat through development and natural change of shrubby habitat to forest.


Range Map Help

Prairie Warbler Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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