Virginia's Warbler, photo by Dominic Sherony

Virginia’s Warbler

Look For

The Virginia’s warbler is a very small songbird with a plumage that is primarily gray. It is has a lighter gray on its underparts and yellow undertail coverts. It also has a distinct yellow patch on its breast and a reddish brown splotch on its crown. The female Virginia’s warbler is a smaller, paler version of the male that lacks distinct color patches.

Listen For

The Virginia’s warbler’s song is a musical, rolling seedle-seedle-seedle-sweet-sweet. Its call is a clipped, sharp tsick sound.

Find It

Despite the common misconception, the Virginia’s warbler has nothing to do with the state of Virginia. The bird’s range actually is focused on the central and southern mountains of Colorado, central and western New Mexico, central Wyoming, and small parts of western Texas. 

The Virginia’s warbler prefers to breed in oak woodlands and dry mountainsides covered in brush. Because of its preferred low, dense habitat, the Virginia’s warbler is often heard more than it is seen. It migrates south to Mexico for the winter, though the details of its habit and breeding range there is still relatively unknown.

Feeding Behavior

The Virginia’s warbler primarily feeds on a variety of small insects, though the specifics have not been studied or observed in detail. It forages by gleaning insects off twigs and foliage as well as on the ground. It also hovers and flies out in order to can insect midair.

Nesting Behavior

The Virginia’s warbler female is likely responsible for building the nest, choosing to place it in a hidden location like a steep hillside, dense brush, or among dead leaves near a tree. The nest is formed into an open cup shape using bark, grass, roots and moss as materials. 

The female lays 3 to 5 eggs that are off-white with small reddish brown speckling. The nest is likely incubated by the female but the amount of days before hatching and before the young leave the nest is unconfirmed.

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