Hooded warbler

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Hooded warbler
Wilsonia citrina (Belize).jpg
Adult male
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae
Genus: Setophaga
S. citrina
Binomial name
Setophaga citrina
(Boddaert, 1783)
Wilsonia citrina map.svg
Range of S. citrina      Breeding range     Wintering range

Wilsonia citrina
Dendroica citrina

The hooded warbler (Setophaga citrina) is a New World warbler. It breeds in eastern North America and across the eastern United States and into southernmost Canada (Ontario). It is migratory, wintering in Central America and the West Indies. Hooded warblers are very rare vagrants to western Europe.

Recent genetic research has suggested that the type species of Wilsonia (hooded warbler W. citrina) and of Setophaga (American redstart S. ruticilla) are closely related and should be merged into the same genus. As the name Setophaga (published in 1827) takes priority over Wilsonia (published in 1838), hooded warbler would then be transferred as Setophaga citrina.[2] This change has been accepted by the North American Classification Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union,[3] and the IOC World Bird List.[4] The South American Classification Committee continues to list the bird in the genus Wilsonia.


The genus name Setophaga is from Ancient Greek ses, "moth", and phagos, "eating", and the specific citrina is Latin for citrine.[5]


Hooded Warbler in Audubon's Birds of America
Hooded Warbler in Audubon's Birds of America

The hooded warbler is a small bird and mid-sized warbler, measuring 13 cm (5.1 in) in length and weighing 9–12 g (0.32–0.42 oz).[6] It has a plain olive/green-brown back, and yellow underparts. Their outer rectrices have whitish vanes. Males have distinctive black hoods which surround their yellow faces; the female has an olive-green cap which does not extend to the forehead, ears and throat instead. Males attain their hood at about 9–12 months of age; younger birds are essentially identical to (and easily confused with) females.[7] The song is a series of musical notes which sound like: wheeta wheeta whee-tee-oh, for which a common mnemonic is "The red, the red T-shirt" or "Come to the woods or you won't see me". The call of these birds is a loud chip.

Life history[edit]

These birds feed on insects, which are often found in low vegetation or caught by flycatching. Hooded warblers' breeding habitats are broadleaved woodlands with dense undergrowth. These birds nest in low areas of a bush, laying three to five eggs in a cup-shaped nest. Hooded warblers are often the victims of brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird, especially where the hooded warblers' forest habitats are fragmented. In areas with protected woodlands or recovering wooded habitat, the hooded warbler population is stable and possibly increasing.[6]


Hooded Warbler bird male
Hooded Warbler, male


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Wilsonia citrina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  2. ^ Lovette, I. J.; et al. (2010). "A comprehensive multilocus phylogeny for the wood-warblers and a revised classification of the Parulidae (Aves)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (2): 753–770. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.018. PMID 20696258.
  3. ^ Chesser, R. T.; et al. (2011). "Fifty-Second Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds" (PDF). Auk. 128 (3): 600–613. doi:10.1525/auk.2011.128.3.600.
  4. ^ "Family Parulidae". IOC World Bird List.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. pp. 110, 355. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ a b "Hooded Warbler". All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  7. ^ Burns, Frank L. (1898). "Hooded Warbler" (PDF). Wilson Bulletin. 10 (5): 70.

External links[edit]