The Kentucky warbler is a scarce bird with a large range, frequenting moist deciduous forests. Kentucky Warblers often follow swarms of army ants while on their wintering grounds, snapping up invertebrates fleeing the swarm. Bald Eagle. 44 Perfect Gifts for the Bird and Nature Lovers in Your Life, How the Evening Grosbeak Got Its Misleading Name. In a one-two punch, the species also has to contend with habitat loss on its wintering grounds. Despite its bright colors, it can be surprisingly hard to see in the shadows of the deep forest interior. Come fall and winter the Kentucky warbler will migrate back to the Yucatán Peninsula and the many islands of the Caribbean, flying non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. Description. Adult Kentucky warblers are mostly an olive-green in color on their back and nape, and a brilliant yellow below from their throat to their belly. Given its resonance and repetition, the Kentucky Warbler's song can be a fairly common springtime sound in forested regions where this species occurs. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too. The female alone incubates, but the male helps to feed the young once they hatch. It will also eat spiders or berries with its winter diet. The Kentucky warbler (Geothlypis formosa) is a small species of New World warbler. Kentucky warblers nest on the ground hidden at the base of a shrub or in a patch of weeds in an area of ample vegetation. Illustration © David Allen Sibley. ABC is involved in a number of large-scale conservation initiatives that benefit Kentucky Warblers, including BirdScapes, Joint Ventures, and Southern Wings. The Kentucky Warbler forages on the ground on long, pink legs, searching for grubs, spiders, caterpillars, and other invertebrates. solutions to keep migrating birds from hitting windows. Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from Becomes more vulnerable to cowbird parasitism as forest is broken up into smaller patches. Nestlings are fed by the female and rarely by the male. This information is used to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Other ABC initiatives tackle threats affecting all birds, including our Cats Indoors program, which encourages pet owners to keep cats and birds safe, and our Glass Collisions program, which offers solutions to keep migrating birds from hitting windows. The young Kentucky warblers usually leave the nest about 10 days after hatching. The Kentucky warbler (Geothlypis formosa) is a small species of New World warbler. Female Kentucky warblers have slightly less black on the sides of their head, and immature birds may have almost no black at all. This skulking species requires forest with a dense understory, usually close to water such as creeks, rivers, and swamps. It probes forest litter in the manner of a Spotted Towhee, tossing leaves aside with its bill and scratching with its feet. Lives of North American Birds. Also faces loss of habitat on wintering grounds. It takes some practice, but many birders learn that song quality and clarity differ between the two species, with the “syllables” of the Kentucky's two-note song phrases almost blurring together, unlike the wren's usually distinct notes. The Kentucky Warbler nests east of the Great Plains throughout much of the lower Midwest, the Middle Atlantic states, and the Southeast. Visit your local Audubon center, join a chapter, or help save birds with your state program. Photo: Andrew Weitzel/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). Wilson's first encounter with the Kentucky Warbler was most likely the same as most birders' – he probably heard its rich, rollicking song: "churry churry churry." Audio of Carolina Wren by Will Sweet, XC457190 Accessible at It is migratory, spending summer in the central and eastern United States, often ranging as far north as Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. Both sexes build the open cup nest out of dead leaves lined with soft grasses, hair, and rootlets. Mostly insects. Many fly across the Gulf of Mexico in spring and fall. Woodland undergrowth. Often departs from breeding grounds during August. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. It is a sluggish and heavy warbler with a short tail, preferring to spend most of its time on or near the ground, except when singing. It is a sluggish and heavy warbler with a short tail, preferring to spend most of its time on or near the ground, except when singing. While defending nesting territory, males sing persistently, repeating themselves as often as once every 12 seconds. You don't have to visit Yosemite to see a lot of species. Both sexes then feed the fledglings for up to 17 days. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards, Adult male. Forages mainly by walking on ground, seeking insects among the leaf litter, flipping over dead leaves, sometimes leaping up in the air to take insects from the underside of foliage. Let us send you the latest in bird and conservation news. Partners in Flight has placed the Kentucky Warbler on its Yellow Watch List of declining birds, noting a 29-percent drop in population between 1970 and 2014. We protect birds and the places they need. It was one of dozens of species he introduced to the world, through words and illustration, in the first thorough treatise on U.S. birds, entitled American Ornithology. This species is relatively less common as a vagrant in the West than most other “eastern” warblers. The Kentucky Warbler was first seen by the Scots-American naturalist and ornithologist Alexander Wilson in 1810. The Kentucky warbler is a ground forager, flipping up leafs to find insects. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. It’s the least you can do. They have a small tinge of black on their … As with other ground-nesting songbirds such as the Kirtland's Warbler, nests of Kentucky Warblers are frequently parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds, especially in fragmented forests, which give the cowbirds easy access.