Cerulean Warbler Journal

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Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea)

The beautiful, azure-blue wood warbler is a bird of the high treetops. It is found in old deciduous woods where its colors make it difficult to distinguish among the light and shadow of the lofty foliage against the blue sky. Both male and female have white wing bars. The female is blue-gray and olive-green above, whitish below. The song of the male is a rapid series of buzzy notes on one pitch, followed by a single buzzy note on a higher pitch.

The Cerulean Warbler prefers to build its dainty, compact nest from 20 to 60 feet above the ground in mature trees of floodplain forests. The female lays three to five greyish, creamy, or greenish-white eggs. It is unknown whether both parents tend the young.

This beautiful bird forages with great agility, moving rapidly between branches and remaining high in the canopy. Little is known about its diet, but it is believed to eat mainly insects.

Cerulean Warbler numbers have been declining steadily over the past 25 years. This selective species is sensitive to fragmentation of its forested breeding habitat. The major problem, however, appears to be related to the overwintering habitat. During the winter, Cerulean Warblers forage in tall, primary forests in the foothills of the Andes Mountains only at elevations of 500 to 1800 meters. Unfortunately, most of this forest habitat has already been logged, possibly sealing the fate of one of our most beautiful migratory wood warblers.

artwork by John Sill © 1993 

text by Annette Finney

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