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Black-and-white Warbler

Paruline noir et blanc

Mniotilta varia

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Black and White Warbler

Species: The Black-and-White Warbler (Mniotila varia) is one of the most abundant warblers seen in North America. Recognized by its nuthatch-like behaviour of creeping along trunks and limbs, picking out larvae and insects from beneath the bark. Because of its food source, this warbler is one of the first in the warblers family to migrate back to its breeding grounds in the spring.

Distinctions: The male and female both have black and white stripes through their crowns. The male also has black streaks along the flanks, black wings with two strong white wing bars and a black throat. The female and juvenile have similar features but duller in appearance, showing signs of a buffier brown body, lacking the black throat patch. Both sexes have rather large bills with a noticeable downward curve. The Black-throated Gray Warbler has some similar features but is not likely to be seen in the same regions of North America. The Blackpoll Warbler also has some similar features but only in the springtime, when it is in breeding plumage.

Voice: Whining or complaining long notes, thin high pitch sounding like weesy-weesy-weesy-weesy.

Nesting: Three to five white to creamy coloured eggs, with brown markings. Nest is usually on the side of a hill, on the ground, near the base of a tree. The nest is composed of fine grass, leaves, conifer needles, moss and hair.


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Life, Habitat & Pictures of the Black-and-white Warbler

B L W W W Family Latin Name
5.25" 13.3cm 8.25" 21cm 0.4oz 11.3g Parulidae Mniotilta varia

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter
Black-and-white

Distribution: Found throughout Newfoundland, west, through the lower 2/3rd of the Canadian Provinces, from Quebec into Alberta, north into the North West Territories, touching into the Yukon, south, all the way to eastern Texas, east to the Atlantic Ocean, north through all the states, and all of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.




References to Other Bird Sites:

These are links to websites pertaining to the different birding institutions, societies and organizations here in North America. Some of these same sites are a great asset to seeking out knowledge on birds in other regions of the world. Each of these links offer the user different methods to identify birds, whether it be by regions, habitat, appearance or maybe colour. Knowledge on the possibilities of where and what birds might be present are included.

Avibase - the world bird database This site provides the user with a complete list of bird species, broken down per country, or in the example of the US or Canada, per state and province. Here, bird species names are available in other languages, a great asset to be used as a translation of foreign bird names.

ABA - American Birding Association This site represents an organization that maintains official records of all birds species that have been proven to have been seen inside the perimeters of the North American Continent and the surrounding bodies of water. Regular revised versions are posted to keep the bird list current at all times. This is the list used by all serious birders over their lifetime. You may be aware of the movie called the "Big Year". It was with this list that all the competing birders used in an attempt to set a new record as to how many bird species that could be seen by an individual birder in one calendar year.



The description to follow is taken from the AOS Home Page.

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society is an international society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. As one of the world's oldest and largest ornithological societies, AOS produces scientific publications of the highest quality, hosts intellectually engaging and professionally vital meetings, serves ornithologists at every career stage, pursues a global perspective, and informs public policy on all issues important to ornithology and ornithological collections. AOS is distinguished by its tremendous collective expertise, including eminent scientists, conservation practitioners, early career innovators, and students.

eBird - TheCornellLab of OrnithologyeBird is a must for any individual, who has an interest in birds. This site allows users to sign up and participate in recording birds seen on a daily basis as well as the location, for any bird species seen in the world. In addition, users can use the existing data to search out the location of bird species throughout the year. By using filters, information as to the movements can be determined. Photos can be added to identify individual birds. Migration pattern can be calculated using information by months or years as needed. Range maps can be verified, allowing the users to see where the presence of individual bird species are expected to be at certain times of the year.

NA - National Geographic The Society of National Geographic provides some of the best books available for those who have an interest in birds. The book called "The Complete Birds of North America", is a book recommended to be part of any birders library. This book covers all the native and vagrant species of birds seen on the North American Continent. It provides information on all the birds listed on the ABA bird list. This book goes into great details, describing the individual species and their races. That aside, their website provides wonderful information pertaining to many articles regarding nature.


I hope you will take advantage of these suggested websites. I have used each of them, in one way or another, throughout the years in my quest to better identify and understand our fine feathered friends.

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