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Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens


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Black-throated Blue Warbler, male
credit: Gary Irwin /CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Parulidae, Wood Warblers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mostly dark blue upperparts with darker flight feathers and a striking white patch at the base of the primaries. Tail is dark overall, but in flight note the bold white patches on outer feathers. Face, throat, and flanks are black with neat cut-off from otherwise pure white underparts. ADULT FEMALE Has mostly buffy brown upperparts and paler, buff-yellow underparts, except for whitish undertail coverts. Note the white patch at base of primaries, pale supercilium and lower "eyelid." IMMATURE Similar to adult female, but pale wing patch is usually absent and pale markings on head are less distinct.

Dimensions Length: 5" (13 cm)

Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to dense understory of upland deciduous or mixed forests; winters around the Caribbean.

Observation Tips Listen for its distinctive song in breeding range; migrants are seen near coasts.

Range Great Lakes, Western Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada, California, Texas, Plains, Southeast, Southwest, New England, Rocky Mountains, Northwest

Voice Song is a shrill, squeaky zee-zerr-zhree, with something of the quality of a bird squeaker about it; call is a sharp tuuk.

Discussion Plump-bodied wood-warbler, the sexes of which have remarkably different plumages. Male is striking and unmistakable; although female's plumage is understated and her colors muted, an absence of wing bars and presence of wing patch, pale undertail coverts, and whitish supercilium are good features to look for. Forages mainly for insects, but also takes berries and fruit in season. Sexes are dissimilar.