Living Bird Magazine
A heavyset warbler of southern swamps and forested ravines, the Swainson’s Warbler has a bold, ringing song but tends to remain frustratingly hidden in the understory. This brownish songbird isn’t as brilliantly colored as other warblers, but males have a subtle chestnut tone in the crown and sometimes a lemon-yellow wash below. The species forages mostly in dense vegetation on or near the ground, where it uses its hefty bill to turn over leaves in search of insects and spiders.More ID Info
Look for Swainson’s Warblers in spring and summer in dense swamps and canebrakes of the southeastern U.S. They sing frequently near the beginning of the breeding season, from late March through late April, and less frequently the rest of the year. Males defend large territories and have favorite song perches. The best way to find the species is to listen and scan the woods patiently to spot a singing male. Song perches are sometimes fairly high up (15–20 feet) in small trees such as sassafras or holly.
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