Townsend's Warbler Life History


Habitat Forests

  • Breeds in tall coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests.
  • Winters in variety of habitats, including chaparral, mature forest, suburban gardens, and parks.
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Food InsectsInsects and honeydew excreted by scale insects.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Tree

Nest Description

Bulky open cup of bark, pine needles, small twigs, dried grass, lichens, and spider cocoons. Lined with fine grasses, moss, or hair. Placed on main limb in coniferous tree, well concealed by foliage.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-7 eggs
Egg Description:White with brown speckles.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with tufts of down.
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Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans insects from leaf surfaces and needles in upper third of tree canopy. Hawks insects and hover-gleans.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernTownsend's Warbler populations were stable, but appeared to have experiences a small decline, between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 17 million with 58% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 72% in Mexico, and 42% breeding in Canada. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Townsend's Warbler is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.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.

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. 

Wright, A. L., G. D. Hayward, S. M. Matsuoka and P. H. Hayward. 1998. Townsend's Warbler (Setophaga townsendi), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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