- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Parulidae
Tennessee Warblers are dainty, thin-billed warblers that breed in the boreal forest of Canada. Though they lack the brilliant colors of other warbler species, breeding males are a crisp mixture of gray head, white stripe over the eye, and green back. Females and nonbreeders can look more generally yellowish, inviting confusion with species like Orange-crowned Warblers, but they always show white under the tail. This numerous species eats mostly small caterpillars and benefits from the spruce budworm outbreaks that happen periodically in their breeding habitat.More ID Info
Find This Bird
For most of eastern North America, the best time to find Tennessee Warblers is during migration, as the birds pass between northern Canada and Central/South America. Look for them in early May, and again in September to early October, in open to semiopen forests. These tiny warblers spend much of their time high in trees—find them by watching for fluttering activity at the tips of thin branches. They often sing during spring migration, so listen for their high, chipping, 3-parted song.
- Reinita de Tennessee (Spanish)
- Paruline obscure (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Tennessee Warbler is a common nectar "thief" on its wintering grounds in tropical forests. Most nectar-eating birds, bats, and insects probe a flower from the front to get the nectar, spreading pollen on their faces in the process. But Tennessee warblers pierce the flower tube at the base, lapping up the nectar without helping pollinate the flower.
- Despite breeding no closer to the state of Tennessee than northern Michigan, 600 miles away, the Tennessee Warbler was given its name by Alexander Wilson based on a bird he encountered in Tennessee during its migration.
- The oldest recorded Tennessee Warbler was 4 years, 7 months old when it was recaptured and released at a banding station in the West Indies. It was originally banded in Pennsylvania.