on the second
May, is an
The art created for International
Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) 2001
depicts a traditional coffee plantation in
Guatemala, where coffee shrubs are
grown under a canopy of native trees.
The three featured birds are just an
example of the variety of migratory and
resident bird species that can be found
on these forested farmlands.
The three species, Wilson’s Warbler,
Black-throated Green Warbler, and
Slate-throated Redstart, are all wood-warblers,
a group of songbirds with
petite forms, bright colors, and active
ways. These “butterflies” of the bird
world are a favorite of birdwatchers, who
also admire their often impressive feats
There are 115 species of wood warblers
in the Americas, and about half of them
migrate north in the spring to breed in
the United States and Canada.
Shared Characteristics of Wood Warblers
Appearance Plumage colors and
patterns differ in the male and female of
most species—though both sexes are
brightly marked—and vary somewhat
with age and time of year.
Migration The urge to migrate is
inborn, but influenced by weather, day
length, and social behaviors. Departure
dates for migration vary with species and
destination. Within a species, males
typically travel earlier than females, and
older birds earlier than younger birds.
Warblers primarily migrate at night,
requiring daylight to seek out food.
Habitat Most warblers live in forests,
woodlands and dense brush. During
migration, however, warblers stop to rest
just about anywhere, including along
roadsides, in parks and gardens, even on
boats and offshore-oil platforms.
Feeding In both breeding and
wintering habitats, warblers forage in the
vegetation, gathering insects and spiders
from branches and leaves.
Calls/Songs Both sexes make short,
simple call notes, but only the adult
males produce the longer, more complex
songs of squeaky notes and shrill
whistles, usually while in a stiff, vertical
pose from a prominent perch.
Breeding Territorial in breeding
season, with pairs driving other birds of
the same species away from the vicinity
of the nesting site. Females build a
cupped nest of fine plant material and
incubate the eggs. Usually only one
clutch of three to five eggs is laid per
Conservation Status Status varies;
populations of some wood warbler
species are currently secure, many are
declining, a few are endangered, and for
others, data are inconclusive. What’s
certain is that numerous threats confront
all warblers. The primary threat to
warblers—and all wild birds—is loss or
degradation of natural habitat due to
Species Depicted in the
IMBD 2001 Artwork
While this drawing is whimsical, these
warblers really are attracted to the habitat
provided on traditional plantations of coffee.
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Migration Begins departing the
tropics in March, and is gone from
Guatemala by the first week in May.
Wintering habitat Humid to semi-humid
evergreen, semi-deciduous, and
pine-oak forests and forest-edges. Often
in mixed-species flocks, usually in the
company of other species rather than its
Breeding habitat Decided preference
for second-growth pine forests. It can be
found in white pine woods, open stands of
pitch pine, overgrown pastures with red
cedar, and open mixed woods where
cedars, hemlocks and spruces
Feeding Forages in the mid to upper-levels
of the vegetation.
Fun Fact Males are known to be
persistent singers, and are more often
heard than seen.
Migration Starts from the tropics
February to May, with those breeding in
Western North America undertaking
migration earlier than those breeding in
Wintering habitat Humid to semi-arid
forests and forest-edges, hedges,
overgrown fields, or pastures. Sometimes
traveling in mixed flocks, this bird is
generally a loner.
Breeding habitat Involves dense
ground cover, low shrubs, and relatively
wet situations, such as moist sphagnum
bogs or willow and alder thickets on
Feeding Forages at low to mid-levels of
vegetation. Also captures insects on the
Fun Fact An alert, restless bird, with a
tendency of jerking its tail up and down,
or waving it side to side.
Migration Does not migrate from
Latin America; it is a year-round resident
of Mexico, Central America and northern
Habitat Usually found in the
mountains, descending to lower
elevations in winter. Preferred natural
habitat is humid evergreen and pine-evergreen
forest, as well as semi-humid
pine-oak and oak woodlands in the winter,
but will use forest-edges or altered
habitat. It joins mixed species flocks in
the winter, or in southern populations,
may pair year-round.
Feeding Forages in the lower levels of
the vegetation; known for probing
clusters of dead leaves. Also feeds in the
air and on the ground.
Fun Fact The subspecies found in
northern Guatemala has bright red
underparts; underparts are orange-red
ranging to yellow in the subspecies found
Three Featured Species
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