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Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler
   Photo: George Peck

Features: The Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) gets its name from the vivid blue coloration of the male warbler's back and cheeks. As this warbler is a bird of the tree tops, males are often best identified from below, by the thin dark band that crosses the upper part of the predominantly white breast. Cerulean Warblers are forest-interior birds that require large, relatively undisturbed tracts of mature, semi-open deciduous forest. In Ontario, they are restricted to such habitats in the Carolinian Forest zone and the southern part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest zone. These birds begin their long migration to wintering grounds in northeastern South America in late summer.

Status: Threatened Provincially, Endangered Nationally

Range: The breeding range extends from extreme southwestern Quebec and southern Ontario west to Minnesota and Nebraska and south to eastern Texas and other Gulf states to North Carolina. Southern Ontario populations may be separated into two distinct bands. One band runs from southern Lake Huron, north of lakes St. Clair and Erie, with an area of concentration lying roughly between the Long Point region and western Lake Ontario. Further north, a second band runs from the Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay area to the Ottawa River, with an area of concentration north of the juncture of the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario.

Threats: On the North American breeding grounds, the chief threat to this warbler is habitat loss resulting from forest fragmentation and degradation. On the South American wintering grounds, forested tracts in mountainous regions are preferred, and these areas are considered to be under a high degree of threat from logging. Nest parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) may become an increasing problem as cowbird populations increase in degraded forest habitats.

Protection: The Cerulean Warbler is protected in a Schedule under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Text Sources: Barg et. al. 2003; Bull and Farrand 1977; Godfrey 1986; McCracken 1993; Peterson 1947

Last Modified Date: July 2011

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