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Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus


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Kentucky Warbler, male
credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Parulidae, Wood Warblers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mostly olive-green upperparts, including nape and rear of crown, grading to speckled black on forecrown. Black markings on face ("mask" and border to throat) are emphasized by broad yellow supercilium and area just behind and partially below eye ("broken spectacles" effect) and yellow throat; rest of underparts are also yellow. Legs are pink. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but black elements of head pattern are paler and less extensive. IMMATURE Recalls adult female, but blackish elements of head pattern are almost entirely replaced by dark olive.

Dimensions Length: 5 1/2" (14 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to waterside deciduous forests; winters in Central and South America.

Observation Tips A challenge to see, given its furtive nature and relative inaccessibility of its favored breeding habitat.

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

Voice Song is a series of rich, shrill whistles: tsee'up, tsee'up, tsee'up, tsee'up; call is a soft tchup.

Discussion Secretive, plump, and short-tailed warbler that is easier to hear than to observe. Once seen, however, distinctive appearance makes identification straightforward. Sexes are similar, but separable.