Cerulean Warbler Life History


Habitat ForestsBreeds in forests with tall deciduous trees and open understory, such as wet bottomlands and dry slopes. Winters in broad-leaved, evergreen forests.Back to top


Food InsectsPrimarily insects, with some plant material taken in winter.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Tree

Nest Description

Nest an open cup of bark fibers, grass stems, and hair bound together with spider web, placed on a lateral limb of a deciduous tree in mid- to upper-canopy. Usually concealed from above by leaves or twigs on the nest branch.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:1-5 eggs
Egg Description:Grayish to greenish white, speckled with brown.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless.
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Behavior Foliage GleanerGleans insects from leaves.Back to top


Conservation DecliningCerulean Warbler is one of the species of highest concern in the eastern United States because of a small total population size and significant declines throughout its range. The North American Breeding Bird Survey estimates a decline of over 2.6% per year between 1966 and 2015, resulting in a cumulative loss of 74% of the population in that time. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 600,000, with 98% breeding in the U.S., and 2% in Canada. It is a Tri-National Concern Species and a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and rates a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Cerulean Warbler is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which includes bird species that are most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Back to top


Buehler, David A., Paul B. Hamel and Than Boves. 2013. Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea), 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.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon and W. A. Link. The North American breeding bird survey, results and analysis 1966-2015 (Version 2.07.2017). USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 2017.

Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

Stephenson, Tom and Scott Whittle. 2013. The Warbler Guide: Princeton University Press.

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