Yellow-throated Warbler Life History

Habitat

Habitat Forests

Yellow-throated Warblers breed in pine forests with an open understory, bald cypress swamps, and woodlands near streams. During the winter, they use similar habitats as well as second-growth woodlands, parks, and gardens.

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Food

Food Insects

Yellow-throated Warblers eat insects such as beetles, caterpillars, flies, and scale insects. They creep up branches near the top of the canopy and probe into crevices, pine cones, and clusters of pine needles for insects. During the nonbreeding season, they also forage on insects attracted to agave and coconut palm flowers.

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Nesting

Nest Placement

Nest Tree

Yellow-throated Warblers nest in the canopy of mature forests. They tend to place the nest near the edges of branches or in Spanish moss dangling from the trees.

Nest Description

Females primarily build the nest. Many nests are in Spanish moss, where females make a cup-shaped pocket in the moss and line it with grasses, weeds, feathers, and strands of moss woven into the nest. In the absence of Spanish moss, females weave together strips of bark, grasses, and weed stems to form a cup and line it with plant down and feathers.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-5 eggs
Egg Length:0.6-0.8 in (1.6-1.9 cm)
Egg Width:0.5-0.6 in (1.2-1.4 cm)
Incubation Period:12-13 days
Egg Description:Pale greenish with dark speckles.
Condition at Hatching:

Naked with eyes closed.

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Behavior

Behavior Bark Forager

Yellow-throated Warblers hop up branches much like a Brown Creeper or Black-and-white Warbler. They forage more deliberately and with less fluttering than other warblers, probing crevices, pine cones, and pine needles for insects. Males establish territories with song during the breeding season and generally associate only with their mate and offspring. During the nonbreeding season, they form mixed-species flocks with Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and other warblers.

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Conservation

Conservation Low Concern

Yellow-throated Warblers are common and their populations increased by 50% between 1966 and 2014, according to Partners in Flight. Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 2 million. The species rates a 10 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. Yellow-throated Warblers appear to be expanding northward and are recovering from population losses at the northern edge of their range in southern Michigan and northern Ohio, the causes of which are unknown.

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Backyard Tips

Yellow-throated Warblers may only use bird feeders on occasion, but you can still provide habitat for them by landscaping with native trees and shrubs. Creating a bird-friendly backyard can provide excellent stopover habitat to support warblers as they migrate to and from the breeding grounds. Head on over to Habitat Network to learn about which native species are good matches for your yard and more.

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Credits

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

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love (2016). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2016.1. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA.

McKay, Bailey and George A. Hall. 2012. Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica), 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.

Pieplow, N. (2017). Peterson field guide to bird sounds of eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, NY, USA.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2017). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Version 2.07.2017. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

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. 

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