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Birds of North America, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

Cape May Warbler

Paruline tigrée

Setophaga tigrina

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Cape May Warbler

Species: The Cape May Warbler (Dendroica castanea), especially the male, has some of the most contrasting and beautiful colours of all warblers seen in North America. Its breeding range is almost entirely in Canada, with some exposure south of the Great Lakes and along the northern boundaries of the north-eastern states. The Cape May Warbler is known for defending its territory rigorously against all other bird species. Its main diet is the spruce budworm, when this warbler is in the north. But, interesting enough, it changes it diet to nectar and fruits when it is on its winter grounds. The juveniles, because of their visible yellow rump might be confused for the immature Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Distinctions: The male has contrasting green coloured stripes of crown, more so on back, rump and tail. Dark green wings with a large white wing patch. Yellow supercilium, chin and on the side of the neck. Dark eye line, with large reddish-orange cheeks. Yellow breast with multiple bold dark streaks, white undertail coverts. The female and juveniles have a similar appearance, without the reddish orange cheeks and with duller colours overall.

Voice: Chipping call, songs sound like "seet-seet-seet-seet", repeated often.

Nesting: Three to eight creamy coloured eggs with brown markings, number of young depends on the budworm infestation. Builds nest high in spruce trees. The nest is composed of leaves, twigs, mosses, and lined with fine grasses.

Birds of North America

Life, Habitat & Pictures of the Cape May Warbler

B L W W W Family Latin Name
5" 12.7cm 8.25" 21cm 0.4oz 11.3g Parulidae Setophaga tigrina

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution: Found from the western tip of Newfoundland, through the lower half of Quebec, north to James Bay, and across all the western provinces, north into the North West Territories, touching the Yukon and British Columbia. Around some of the Great Lakes, most north-eastern states northern boundaries, and all of New Brunswick and most of Nova Scotia. Spends it winters on the Caribbean islands and in South America.

References to Other Bird Sites:

Avibase - the world bird database

ABA - American Birding Association

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society

ABC - American Bird Conservancy

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology

NA - National Geographic

NAC - National Audubon Society

Classic Collection of North American Birds