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Prairie Warbler Life History


Habitat ScrubVarious shrubby habitats, including regenerating forests, open fields, and Christmas-tree farms. Florida residents live in mangrove forests.Back to top


Food InsectsInsects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Shrub

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.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:3-5 eggs
Number of Broods:1-2 broods
Egg Length:0.6-0.7 in (1.4-1.8 cm)
Egg Width:0.4-0.5 in (1.1-1.3 cm)
Incubation Period:10-15 days
Nestling Period:8-11 days
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.
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Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans from leaves and branches. Sometimes hawks insects in the air.Back to top


Conservation DecliningPrairie 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. Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2019). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019.

Nolan Jr, V., E. D. Ketterson and C. A. Buerkle. (2014). Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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.

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, NY, USA.

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

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