The golden-cheeked warbler is a small, endangered songbird with a striking yellow face. It has a black throat and streaks down its flanks as well as a black crown, back, and eye-line. It also has two white wing bars and a white belly.
The golden-cheeked warbler has a buzzy and slow song of zee, zoo, zeedee, zeep. Its call is a soft, short chip.
The golden-cheeked warbler is the only bird that has an exclusive breeding range in Texas. It inhabits areas of central Texas, including parts of Palo Pinto County and Kinney County. Because its breeding range is so limited, the overall population is small. Due to issues with cowbirds laying eggs in its nests and development projects destroys its habitats, the population will likely continue to decrease without conservation efforts.
The golden-cheeked warbler prefers to inhabit juniper and oak trees on hillsides and slopes. Its ideal environment is a wood filled with Ashe juniper spread out among other deciduous trees. In the winter it travels south to Mexico and other parts of northern Central America.
The golden-cheeked warbler feeds primarily on insects including caterpillars, lacewings, beetles, cicadas, ants, flies, moths, and spiders. It forages in the upper parts of juniper and deciduous trees by hopping around gleaning insects from branches and foliage. It also occasionally hovers at the ends of branches and flies out to catch insects midair.
The golden-cheeked warbler places the nest in the fork of juniper branches or in the branches of some other deciduous tree. The female constructs a deep, dense open cup shape using bark strips, mosses, leaves, grass and web lined with feathers and hair.
The female lays 3 to 4 eggs that are white with speckles of brown concentrated at the large end. The mother incubates the eggs for 12 days before hatching. Both parents feed the young before for 9 days before they leave the nest, after which care can last an additional 4 to 7 weeks.