Virginias Warbler (Oreothlypis virginiae)

Virginias Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Oreothlypis virginiae | [UK] Virginias Warbler | [FR] Sylvette de Virginia | [DE] Virginia-Waldsanger | [ES] Reinita de Virginia | [NL] Virginia-zanger


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Male: A small gray warbler, with a yellowish rump and undertail coverts,
narrow white eye-ring, rufous spot on the crown (usually concealed), and touch of yellow on the breast. Flicks tail. Female duller. Immature may lack the yellow.

Listen to the sound of Virginias Warbler

[audio: Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 18 cm wingspan max.: 20 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 12 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 11 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : Southwest USA. Breeds from southeastern California, southern Idaho, and northern Colorado south to Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. Spends winters south of the U.S.-Mexico border


Oak canyons, brushy slopes, pinyons.
Breeds in dry mountain forests, rocky scrub oak ravines, chaparral, and pinyon-juniper brushlands; or in sagebrush, and trees near creeks in foothills and mountains. In some areas, prefers mountain-mahogany and Gambel oak. In migration, frequently in woo
ds along valley streams. In winter in Mexico, found at mid-elevations foraging in short, dry scrub.


Breeding behavior is not well known. Arriving on breeding grounds in April and early May, the male sings from perches on exposed dead limbs. Pairs begin nesting by early June. Males defend large territories.
Usually very difficult to find. Placed under grass tufts in hollow of decaying leaves on ground covered by dense brush. Frequently on steep hillside or talus slope. Nest (probably built by female) is open cup of coarse grass, bark strips, roots, and moss
, lined with animal hair and moss.
Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-5. White to creamy with fine reddish brown spots. Incubation probab
ly by female, length of incubation period unknown. Eggs and young frequently fall prey to jays or snakes. Apparently nests are only rarely parasitized by cowbirds.
Young: Fed by both parents. Age at leaving nest is not well known. Possibly 2 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Presumably mostly or entirely insects. Diet is not known in detail, presumed to eat a wide variety of small insects, like other warblers.
During the breeding season, forages mostly by gleaning insects among foliage and twigs. Also observed feeding on the ground and hawking after flying insects. Typically, warblers related to Virginia’s do much probing of buds and flowers. In winter in Mexi
co, feeds low, mostly within 15′ of the ground, in dry scrub.


This species has a very 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 very 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.
Virginias Warbler status Least Concern


Southwestern United States. Winters in southern Mexico. Migration:
Probably migrates mostly at night, like other warblers. Southward migration begins quite early, the birds mostly disappearing from the breeding grounds in August.

Distribution map

Virginias Warbler distribution range map

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