BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER(Setophaga caerulescens)

The adult male has a blue head, back and tail. The face – including the eye area – is black, as well as the throat. This black color extends as two bands along the breast and belly. The under parts are white. There is some white on the wings. The short bill is black and the legs dark grey. The female is olive-grey on top and has a light grey stripe above the eye. Its under parts are creamish, and there is a white spot on the wings. The bird’s length is about 12 cm (5 in.).

Warblers are thus called thanks to their generally melodious songs. The bird’s Latin name ‘setophaga’ means ‘moth eating’, and ‘caerulescens’ refers to a type of blue color.

This warbler builds its nest near the ground in dense shrubs in the forest. It forages for insects mainly under the leaves in its breeding range, but also sometimes catching them on the fly. In the winter, it will also feed on berries.

The black-throated blue warbler is a breeding bird on PEI, and is fairly common in the spring and summer. The Maritimes sit at the northeast end of this bird’s breeding range, which covers the Appalachians. Its preferred habitat is the older hardwood and mixed forest with some dense understorey. This bird migrates to the Caribbean and parts of Central America for the winter. During its migration, this bird can be seen in urban areas.

Conservation: the number of black-throated blue warbler has increased in its breeding range, but is impacted in its wintering range by deforestation and habitat fragmentation.

Black-throated blue warbler feeding chicks - photo by S. Maslowski, Fish & Wildlife Service
Black-throated blue warbler male feeding chicks – photo by S. Maslowski, Fish & Wildlife Service
Black-throated blue warbler, female - photo by Dick Daniels
Black-throated blue warbler, female – Dick Daniels
Black-throated Blue Warbler, male - Fountain Head, PEI - June 10, 2016 - Wanda Bailey
Black-throated Blue Warbler, male – Fountain Head, PEI – June 10, 2016 – Wanda Bailey