18 Warbler Species: A Photographic Guide

Warblers are a lifetime study. Only a few nest in the Toronto area. We see others, if we are lucky, during migration. If you were to visit the northern bush habitat of many species during the breeding season, it would still be difficult to find these tiny birds given the vast vegetation. I have heard the Ovenbird sing thousands of times but have only seen the one which struck a neighbour’s window in migration. Warbler songs are useful in identification but many sound alike until you have heard them dozens of times. Every spring, I listen repeatedly to a CD of warbler songs in order to refresh my memory.

NORTHERN PARULA WARBLER

The Parula Warbler is a bluish warbler.

Northern Parula Warbler

It has a yellow throat and breast

Northern Parula Warbler

and two conspicuous white wing bars.

Northern Parula

The male has a dark band across the breast.

Northern Parula Warbler
Northern Parula Warbler

BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER

The Black-throated Green Warbler has a bright yellow face

Black-throated Green Warbler

a black throat

Black-throated Green Warbler

and an olive-green crown.

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler

BLACK and WHITE WARBLER

The Black and White Warbler is striped lengthwise with black and white.

Black and White Warbler

It has a striped crown

Black and White Warbler

and white stripes on the back.

Black and White Warbler
Black and White Warbler

BLACKPOLL WARBLER

The Blackpoll Warbler is striped

Blackpoll Warbler (female)

The male has white cheeks

Blackpoll Warbler (male)

and a black cap.

Blackpoll Warbler

The female is less heavily streaked and is greenish-gray above and white below.

Blackpoll Warbler (female)
Blackpoll Warbler

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER

The upper parts of the male are clean-cut

Black-throated Blue Warbler

and blue-gray in colour.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Throat and sides are black

Black-throated Blue Warbler

and the belly is white.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

MAGNOLIA WARBLER

Magnolia Warblers are black and yellow.

Magnolia Warbler

The upper parts are blackish.

Magnolia Warbler

There are white wing patches on the wings and tail.

Underparts are yellow with heavy black stripes.

Magnolia Warbler

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER

Yellow-rumped Warblers have a bright yellow rump.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The male in spring is dark blue-gray above.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

There is a yellow patch before each wing.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

The female is brownish.

Yellow-rumped warbler

CAPE MAY WARBLER

Cape May Warblers are yellow below and striped with black.

Cape May Warbler

They have chestnut cheeks,

Cape May Warbler

a yellow rump

Cape May Warbler

and a black crown.

Cape May Warbler

CHESTNUT-SIDED WABLER

The Chestnut-sided warbler has chestnut sides

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler

and a yellow cap.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

BAY-BREASTED WARBLER

The male is dark-looking with a chestnut throat,

Bay-breasted Warbler

and chestnut upper breast and sides.

Bay-breasted Warbler (male)

There is a large spot of pale buff on the cheek.

Bay-breasted Warbler (male)

The female is paler, more washed-out.

Bay-breasted Warbler (female)
Bay-breasted Warbler (female)

BLACKBURNIAN WARLER

The Blackburnian Warbler has a “fire throat.”

Blackburnian Warbler (male)

They are black and white

Blackburnian Warbler

with flaming orange on the head and throat.

Blackburnian Warbler (male)
Blackburnian Warbler (male)

AMERICAN REDSTART

Males are black

American Redstart (male)

with bright orange patches on the head and throat.

American Redstart (male)

Females are olive-brown

American Redstart (female)

with yellow patches on the wings and tail.

American Redstart (female)

PINE WARBLER

Bright yellow breasted warbler lacking other conspicuous field marks.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

The breast is dimmly steaked.

Pine Warbler

There are white wing bars.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

PALM WARBLER

The Palm Warbler is brown above,

Palm Warbler

yellowish or white below

Palm Warbler

and narrowly streaked.

Palm Warbler

The chestnut cap is seen in spring.

Palm Warbler

The Yellow Warbler is the yellowist of all warblers.

Yellow Warbler (male)

Even the tail is largely yellow.

Yellow Warbler

Males have rusty breast streaks.

Yellow Warbler (male)

Females do not.

Yellow Warbler (female)

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER

The Orange-crowned Warbler is a dingy warbler without wing bars or other distinguishing field marks.

Orange-crowned Warbler

It is olive-green above

Orange-crowned Warbler

and greenish yellow below.

Orange-crowned Warbler

The breast is faintly streaked.

Orange-crowned Warbler

NASHVILLE WARBLER

The Nashville Warbler has a white eye-ring

Nashville Warbler

and a yellow throat.

Nashville Warbler

The head is gray

Nashville Warbler

contrasting with an olive-green back.

Nashville Warbler

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT

The male has a black mask

Common Yellowthroat (male)

and a yellow throat.

Common Yellowthroat (male)

Females do not have a black mask.

Common Yellowthroat (female)
Common Yellowthroat (female)

Miles Hearn

7 thoughts on “18 Warbler Species: A Photographic Guide

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Such beautiful little birds. And so many varieties! I remember once, hiking right beside the Don River, when I was able to see a great many Yellow Warblers. That they were indeed Yellow Warblers was confirmed by a bird watcher who came along. Thanks, Miles!

    Reply
  2. Patricia Lund

    Thanks Miles for making the id of the Warblers a little easier and much clearer to id in their different poses than from a single bird book illustration. I recognize some of these birds from the bird cards that came in boxes of tea many decades ago that my sister and I would fight over to complete our collections. Those little cards awakened a sense of beauty and wonder in me at the variety of birds one could possibly see if one went looking in the right places.

    Reply
  3. Rosemary Jeanes Antze

    This is very helpful, Miles. Thank you so much!
    I will look at the often…
    Is there a rationale for the order in which you present them?
    Are these the ones we are most likely to see in the coming weeks?
    Will miss walking with you!

    Reply
  4. Louise Lore

    Thank you for this refresher course! Especially useful for field identification are the poses from different angles. Thank you for the help but it will not substitute for your walks this spring. I will truly miss you.

    Reply

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