A medium-sized (5 ½ inches) wood warbler, the Kentucky Warbler is most easily identified by its olive-green back, yellow breast and throat, black eye-stripes, and yellow eye-rings. Other field marks include a short tail, pale legs, and thin bill. Male and female Kentucky Warblers are similar to one another in all seasons. The Kentucky Warbler breeds in the eastern and southeastern United States from New York south to northern Florida and west to Oklahoma. This species is a long-distance migrant, wintering from central Mexico south to northern South America. Despite this species’ small size, Kentucky Warblers cross the Gulf of Mexico twice a year while on migration, and are occasionally reported resting on ships in the Gulf. Kentucky Warblers breed in thick deciduous forests with large amounts of undergrowth, particularly those near water. In winter, this species inhabits humid tropical forests with similar quantities of undergrowth to those forests used during the summer. Kentucky Warblers eat small invertebrates, including beetles, caterpillars, and spiders. Due to this species’ preference for heavily vegetated habitats, Kentucky Warblers are much more easily heard than seen. Birdwatchers may listen for this species’ “churry-churry-churry-churry” song, or may attempt to observe it foraging for insects deep in the undergrowth. Kentucky Warblers are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.
- Mcdonald, Mary Victoria. 1998. Kentucky Warbler (Geothlypis formosus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/324
- Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
- eBird Range Map - Kentucky Warbler. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ebird.org/ebird/map/kenwar.
- Oporornis formosus. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Oporornis+formosus.
- Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/kentucky-warbler-oporornis-formosus.
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