Bay-breasted warbler

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Bay-breasted warbler
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae
Genus: Setophaga
S. castanea
Binomial name
Setophaga castanea
(Wilson, 1810)
Dendroica castanea map.svg
Range of S. castanea      Breeding range     Wintering range

Dendroica castanea

The bay-breasted warbler (Setophaga castanea) is a New World warbler. It breeds in northern North America, specifically in Canada, into the Great Lakes region, and into northern New England.

Bay-breasted Warbler by Dan Pancamo 2.jpg

This species is migratory, wintering in northwest South America and southern Central America. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

This species is closely related to blackpoll warbler, but this species has a more southerly breeding range and a more northerly wintering area.

The summer male bay-breasted warbler is unmistakable. It has a grey back, black face, and chestnut crown, flank and throat. It also boasts bright yellow neck patches, and white underparts and two white wing bars.

Breeding females essentially resemble washed out versions of the male. The females are greyish above and white below, with much weaker head patterns. The females also only have chestnut markings on small flank patches, although tiny tints in their grey crowns have been observed.

Non-breeding birds have greenish heads, greenish upperparts and yellowish breasts. The yellow extends to the belly of young birds. The two white wing bars are always present in every stage of life. These birds differ from non-breeding blackpoll warblers in the absence of breast streaks.

Standard Measurements[2][3]
length 5–6 in (130–150 mm)
weight 12.5 g (0.44 oz)
wingspan 9 in (230 mm)
wing 71.7–74.9 mm (2.82–2.95 in)
tail 51–54 mm (2.0–2.1 in)
culmen 10–11.1 mm (0.39–0.44 in)
tarsus 18.5–19 mm (0.73–0.75 in)

Their breeding habitats are coniferous woodlands. Bay-breasted warblers nest 5–20 ft (1.5–6.1 m) up in conifer trees,[2] laying 3–5 eggs in a cup-shaped nest. Incubation is 12 days.[2] More eggs are laid in spruce budworm years.

These birds feed on insects, and the numbers of these birds vary with the abundance of the spruce budworm. These birds will also feed on berries and nectar in wintertime.

Their songs are a repetitive high-pitched si si si.


The genus name Setophaga is from Ancient Greek ses, "moth", and phagos, "eating", and the specific castanea is Latin for chestnut-coloured.[4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Dendroica castanea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Godfrey, W. Earl (1966). The Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. p. 336.
  3. ^ Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 443. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. pp. 93, 355. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  • Curson, Jon; Quinn, David; Beadle, David. New World Warblers. Helm Identification Guides. Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0713639322.

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