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Townsend's Warbler


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A bird of the Pacific Northwest, the Townsend's Warbler nests in coniferous forests from Alaska to Oregon. It winters in two distinct areas: in a narrow strip along the Pacific Coast, and in Mexico and Central America.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
4.7 in
12 cm
7.9 in
20 cm
0.2–0.4 oz
7–11 g
Other Names
  • Paruline de Townsend (French)
  • Chipe negroamarillo (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Townsend's Warbler hybridizes with the Hermit Warbler where their ranges overlap in Oregon and Washington. The hybrid zones are rather narrow and appear to be slowly moving, with the more aggressive Townsend's Warbler displacing the Hermit Warbler.
  • On the wintering ground in Mexico, the Townsend's Warbler feeds extensively on the sugary excretions of scale insects. Although the warbler usually forages in the tops of trees, it will use patches of the honeydew-producing insects at whatever height it finds them. It will defend territories around trees infested with the insects against other Townsend's Warblers as well as other bird species.
  • The male Townsend's Warbler begins to sing before it leaves its wintering grounds.
  • Sometimes a female Townsend's Warbler will partially construct a nest in one tree, then move all the materials to another tree and finish the nest there.
  • The oldest recorded Townsend's Warbler was a male and at least 10 years, 8 months old, when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.



  • Breeds in tall coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests.
  • Winters in variety of habitats, including chaparral, mature forest, suburban gardens, and parks.



Insects and honeydew excreted by scale insects.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–7 eggs
Egg Description
White with brown speckles.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with tufts of down.
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.

Nest Placement



Foliage Gleaner

Gleans insects from leaf surfaces and needles in upper third of tree canopy. Hawks insects and hover-gleans.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Townsend'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.




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