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Townsend's Warbler

Silhouette WarblersWarblers
Townsend's WarblerSetophaga townsendi
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Parulidae

Basic Description

The ethereal, buzzy songs of Townsend’s Warblers wafting through old-growth conifer forests provide a dreamlike soundtrack to an enchanting environment. Here, high in the treetops, they seem like tiny colorful ornaments as they forage high in dense foliage, hunting small insects and larvae. Migrants seem to appear in almost any habitat with vegetation. These warblers spend the winter not just in Mexico and Central America, but all along the U.S. Pacific Coast as well, where they often show up in backyards.

More ID Info
image of range map for Townsend's Warbler
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Townsend’s Warblers breed in mature coniferous and mixed forests, but they nest and forage high in the trees, making them a challenge to see well. A steep trail or a road cut that offers an eye-level view of the canopy usually provides the best views of this species. They can be easier to see well on migration and in winter, when they use almost any well-vegetated habitat and may forage in shorter trees and shrubs. In all seasons, locations with coniferous trees are most likely to hold Townsend’s Warblers.

Other Names

  • Reinita de Townsend (Spanish)
  • Paruline de Townsend (French)

Backyard Tips

On the Pacific coast in winter, Townsend’s Warblers often investigate backyard feeders, most regularly when temperatures drop below freezing, to eat energy-rich foods such as mealworms, peanut butter, and suet.

  • Cool Facts