A small (4 ½ - 5 ½ inches) wood warbler, the Orange-crowned Warbler is most easily identified by its olive green back and wings, streaked yellow-green breast, and small orange spot on the top of its head. Other field marks include black legs, a thin black bill, and faint white eye-stripes. Male and female Orange-crowned Warblers are similar in all seasons. The Orange-crowned Warbler breeds across southern Alaska and central Canada. This species’ range extends south at higher elevations in the west as far as Arizona, Texas, and Baja California. This species migrates south in winter, when it may be found along the Pacific coast from Washington to California, in the southeastern U.S., and in Mexico south to northern portions of Central America. Orange-crowned Warblers breed in a variety of open woodland habitat types, ranging from edges of evergreen forests in Alaska to oak scrublands in California. In winter, this species utilizes similar kinds of open habitats as in summer, although populations wintering in the southern part of this species’ winter range visit humid tropical and subtropical forest edges. Orange-crowned Warblers primarily eat insects, but may also eat fruits and berries when available. Due to this species’ preference for heavily vegetated habitats, Orange-crowned Warblers are much more easily heard than seen. Birdwatchers may listen for this species’ song, a high-pitched warbling trill, or may attempt to observe it foraging for insects deep in the undergrowth. Orange-crowned Warblers are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.
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