Painted Whitestart (Myioborus pictus)

Painted Whitestart

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Myioborus pictus | [UK] Painted Whitestart | [FR] Queue-rouge peint | [DE] Rotbrust-Waldsanger | [ES] Candelita Aliblanca | [NL] Roodbuikzanger


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Myioborus pictus NA, MA sw USA to Guatemala
Myioborus pictus guatemalae
Myioborus pictus pictus

Physical charateristics

Beautiful; postures with half-spread wings and tail, showing off large white patches. Black head and upperparts; large bright red patch on lower breast.
Also called Painted Whitestart.

wingspan min.: 19 cm wingspan max.: 22 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 13 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to Guatemala


Oak canyons, pine-oak forests in mountains. Breeds in mixed oak and pine forests and in streamside woods of steep canyons above 5,000′. Prefer
s to nest under oaks, sycamores, ashes, maples, junipers, and pines. In winter in the tropics, found most often in dry open woodlands of oak and pine.


Males arrive on nesting territories 2-10 days before females. During courtship, male chases female, and sometimes the pair sing duets together. Some males have more than one mate.
Nest: Site selected by both members of pair. Placed on ground in a shady spot on steep slope, often
on walls of narrow canyons, on low cliffs, beneath overhanging banks, or under a small boulder. Usually near a small stream. Nest is hidden in a shallow depression or crevice. Shallow, open cup, constructed by female, made of grass, pine needles, leaves,
bark; thinly lined with fine grass and hair.
Eggs: Normally 3-4. Creamy white, with fine spots of brown. Incubation is by female only, 13-14 days.
Young: Fed by both parents. Young leave the nest about 9-13 days after hatching. Often 2 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects. Diet not known in detail, but undoubtedly eats mostly insects, including caterpillars, flies, and small beetles. Also comes to hummingbird feeders to drink sugar-water.
b Behavior: Forages actively at all levels, from ground to treetops. With wings and tail partly spread, hops quickly among branches, searching for insects. Often
hovers while taking items from foliage, or darts out to catch insects in flight. May move up and down vertical trunks, clinging to bark. Sometimes joins mixed flocks with other birds, but often forages in pairs or alone.


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). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not 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.
Painted Whitestart status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to northern Nicaragua. Migration:
Probably permanent resident over most of range, but most of those in our Southwest depart in fall, returning early in spring. A few remain through the winter. Rarely strays far afield, having wandered as far as British Columbia and Massachusetts.

Distribution map

Painted Whitestart distribution range map

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