Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia)

Golden-cheeked Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Dendroica chrysoparia | [UK] Golden-cheeked Warbler | [FR] Sylvette a dos noir | [DE] Goldwangen-Waldsanger | [ES] Chipe mejilla dorada | [NL] Geelwangzanger


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Breeds in the “cedar” hills of the Edwards Plateau, Texas; the warbler with yellow cheeks and a black throat usually found there. Male: Similar to Black-throated Green Warbler, but with a black back
and blacker line thought the eye. Female: Back olive green; similar to a female Black-throated Green, but belly snowy white (lacking tinge of yellow).

Listen to the sound of Golden-cheeked Warbler

[audio: Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 19 cm wingspan max.: 21 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 10 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : Southcentral Texas. Dendroica chrysoparia is a local breeder in Edwards Plateau, Lampasas Cut Plain and Central Mineral Region, Texas, USA. It occurs at an average density of 15 males/km2 in c.350 km2 of occupied habitat, and the population was estimated to number 21,000 individuals in 2004. There was a 25% loss in available territories between 1962 and 1981, and the population has clearly declined. It winters in southern Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, where it is uncommon to fairly common. There are recent reports/records from Costa Rica and Panama.


Junipers, oaks; also streamside trees.
Habitat specialist during the nesting season. Breeds on hillsides and slopes in mature woods of Ashe juniper, especially brakes of junipers 10-20′ tall interspersed with deciduous trees such as oak, walnut, pecan, and hackberry. In winter in the tropics,
found in mountain pine-oak forests.


Males return to breeding grounds about middle of March. Females follow about 5 days
later. Both sexes faithful to site, returning to previous year’s breeding territory. In courtship, male fluffs feathers and calls; occasionally displays by facing female and spreading wings.
Female chooses site, usually in fork of juniper branches, sometimes in small oak, walnut, or pecan tree. Deep, compact, open cup nest, constructed by the female, always made of bark strips from the Ashe juniper. Also can include spider web, lichens, moss
es, leaves, and grass. Nest is lined with rootlets, feathers, and hair.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. White to creamy, with flecks of brown concentrated at large end. Incubation by female only, 12 days.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 9 days after hatching. Parents split up the fledglings, each adult caring for part of brood for 4-7 weeks. 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Almost entirely insects. Feeds on caterpillars, green lacewings, small cicadas, beetles, ants, katydids, walking sticks, deer flies, crane flies, moths,
aphids, true bugs, and others; also spiders.
During the breeding season, forages in the upper two-thirds of junipers and deciduous trees, apparently never on the ground. Most common method of feeding is gleaning insects in juniper foliage, hopping among the branches. Also makes short flight out to
catch flying insects. Beats caterpillars on branch and removes moth wings before eating or feeding to young.


This species has a very small and fragmented occupied breeding range, which is declining significantly. Although conservation action may have ameliorated some of this decline, the species still qualifies as Endangered.
Breeding habitat is under clearance for land development and agriculture. Fragmentation impairs gene flow13 and nest survival decreases with increasing forest edge density. However, the main cause of decline may be logging and firewood-extraction, and agricultural conversion for cattle reducing pine-oak habitats in southern Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
Golden-cheeked Warbler status Endangered


Breeds only in Texas, mainly on Edwards Plateau; west to San Angelo, Rocksprings. Winters southern Mexico to Nicaragua. Migration: An early migrant in both spring and fall, arriving i
n Texas in March, departing mostly in August. Apparently migrates north and south through mountains of eastern Mexico. Single strays have reached California and Florida.

Distribution map

Golden-cheeked Warbler distribution range map

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