Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum)

Worm-eating Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Helmitheros vermivorum | [UK] Worm-eating Warbler | [FR] Sylvette vermivore | [DE] Halden-Waldsanger | [ES] Chipe gusanero | [NL] Streepkopzanger


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Limnothlypis vermivorum
Helmitheros vermivorum NA e USA MA, West Indies

Physical charateristics

A modest forager of leaf-strewn wooded slopes. Heard more often than seen. Dull olive, with black stripes on a buffy head. Breast rich buff. Sexes alike.

Listen to the sound of Worm-eating Warbler

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/Worm-eating Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 19 cm wingspan max.: 20 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 8 days fledging max.: 9 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : East USA


Leafy wooded slopes.
During breeding season, frequents dense deciduous woodlands. Prefers cool, shaded banks, sheer gullies, and steep, forested slopes covered with medium-sized trees and an undergrowth of saplings and shrubs. In winter in the tropics, forages alone in dense
thickets or in the forest undergrowth, usually near the ground.


Males defend territories by singing from perches at mid-levels or on the ground. Besides the usual insectlike trill, male also sings a musical, varied song during flight as part of courtship.
Placed on ground, normally on hillside against a deciduous shrub or sapling, well concealed by dead leaves. Nest (constructed by female) is an open cup of dead leaves; lined with fungus filaments, hair moss, maple seed stems, and animal hair.
Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-6. White, with brown spots and blotches. Incubated by female alone, 13 days. In most areas, rarely parasitized by cowbirds, pos
sibly because it breeds mainly in dense woods far from edges. In some areas, parasitism by cowbirds appears to be more common.
Young: Fed by both parents. Leave the nest at 10 days of age. Probably 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects. Eats smooth caterpillars, but rarely
or never takes the earthworms that the name would seem to imply. Also feeds on small grasshoppers, bugs, ants, bees, walkingsticks, weevils, beetles, sawfly larvae, and spiders. Feeds nestlings on moths and grubs.
Behavior: Forages mostly in trees and shrubs. Probes in curled, dead leaves for insects, and searches on bark of trunks and limbs. Forages also on the ground, walking while seeking insects in the leaf litter.


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 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.
Worm-eating Warbler status Least Concern


Eastern United States (west to Kansas, northeastern Texas). Winters in West Indies, Central America. Migration:
Migrates mostly at night. Fall migration begins early, many moving south in August. Very rare stray in West, mostly in fall.

Distribution map

Worm-eating Warbler distribution range map

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