Mourning Warbler (Oporornis philadelphia)

Mourning Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Oporornis philadelphia | [UK] Mourning Warbler | [FR] Sylvette triste | [DE] Graukopf-Waldsanger | [ES] Verderon lloron | [NL] Grijskopzanger


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Olive above, yellow below, with a gray hood encircling the head and neck; male with irregular black bib. Immature and fall female: Sugg
estion of a hood; broken eye-ring. Brighter yellow below than Connecticut.

Listen to the sound of Mourning Warbler

[audio: Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 17 cm wingspan max.: 20 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 8 days fledging max.: 9 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : North, Northeast


Clearings, thickets, slashings, undergrowth. Breeds in brushy northern habitats, including dense shrubbery in old deciduous woods clearings, br
ushy cut-over lands, lowland thickets of raspberry and blackberry tangles, or bog and marsh edges; often in temporary habitats, growing up after fires or clear-cuts. In winter in the tropics, lives in low, dense thicket and overgrown fields in lowlands an
d foothills.


Details of the breeding behavior are not well known. Male sings to defend nesting territory; during territorial boundary encounters with rival males, he may bob violently, flip wings outward, and fan his tail.
Usually placed on ground next to shrub at base of weeds in raspberry or blackberry briers, or among fern, goldenrod, or grass tussocks. Also sometimes in bush within a couple of feet of the ground. Nest (probably built by both sexes) is an open, bulky cu
p made of leaves, with a core of weeds and coarse grasses, lined with fine grass and hair.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. Creamy white with brown spots or blotches. Incubated by female only, about 12 days. Male feeds female on nest during incubation.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest after 7-9 days. Care of fledglings may continue for another 4 weeks or more.

Feeding habits

Probably mostly insects.
Details of diet are poorly known, but has been seen foraging for caterpillars, beetles, and other insects; also eats spiders. In winter in the tropics, sometimes feeds on the protein bodies from the leaf bases of young Cecropia trees.
During the breeding season, forages primarily in shrubs within a few feet of the ground; hops while feeding on ground. Sometimes makes short flights to catch flying insects. In winter in the tropics, generally feeds alone rather than joining flocks.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Mourning Warbler status Least Concern


Canada, northeastern United States. Winters Nicaragua to northwestern Amazonia. Migration:
In spring, apparently moves north overland through Mexico and Texas, rather than crossing the Gulf of Mexico like many other migrants; evidently retraces same route in fall. Migrates relatively late in spring and early in fall.

Distribution map

Mourning Warbler distribution range map

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