Canada Warbler

Cardellina canadensis
Canada Warbler specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A small (5-5 ¾ inches) wood warbler, the Canada Warbler is most easily identified by its bright yellow breast, blue-gray back, and black streaky “necklace.” Other field marks include large black eyes with yellow eye-rings, a thin black bill, and orange legs. Female Canada Warblers are duller gray above with less well-defined necklaces than males. Appropriately enough, the Canada Warbler’s breeding range is centered on southern Canada from Nova Scotia west to British Columbia. Smaller numbers breed in the northeastern United States and at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains south to Georgia. The Canada Warbler is a long-distance migrant, wintering in northern South America. In summer, the Canada Warbler breeds in a variety of deciduous and mixed deciduous and evergreen forest types. In winter, this species inhabits tropical mountain forests. On migration, Canada Warblers may be found in shrubs along woodland edges as well as in thickets along rivers and streams. This species eats small invertebrates, primarily insects and spiders. Despite its bright colors, the Canada Warbler is often difficult to observe due to its small size and preference for habitats with thick vegetation. With the aid of binoculars, Canada Warblers may be seen high in the forest canopy or deep in the undergrowth gleaning insects from branches. The Canada Warbler is most active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

DC Information

Common migrant in May and mid August to mid-September. Found in floodplain first. The male has a necklace of black spots across the breast; the female does not.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC55758 Wilsonia canadensis (Canada Warbler)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC31133 Wilsonia canadensis (Canada Warbler)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC52325 Wilsonia canadensis (Canada Warbler)