MOURNING WARBLER – (Geothlypis philadelphia)
The Mourning warbler is called this way due to the grey head and throat in the breeding male, which gives it the appearance of a mourning veil. There is a black patch on the breast, the back, wings and tail are yellow-olive and the under parts yellow. In the female the grey of the head and throat is replaced by a brownish-grey. The bill is yellow and the legs pink. The overall length of this warbler is around 12 cm (5 in.).
Warblers are thus called thanks to their generally melodious songs. The English name ‘Mourning’ was given to this bird for its plumage markings on the breast, which apparently evoked grief for the dead. (Ernest Choate) The Latin genus name ‘geothlypis’ is ancient Greek referring to the ground habitat of the bird, and to a small bird of some kind.
Indeed, this species hops on the ground and in low-lying vegetation in search of insects, from which it will remove wings and legs before consuming. In the winter this warbler will also eat fruit. It nests in dense shrubs in wet lowland areas.
The mourning warbler breeds on PEI and is considered as fairly common in the spring and summer. Its breeding range covers the eastern half of southern Canada and the Great Lakes area. It winters in northern South America, and can be found in much of the eastern half of the USA and Central America during migration.