Photo: Glenn Bartley/Vireo

Connecticut Warbler

Oporornis agilis

For many birders, the Connecticut Warbler remains a little-known and mysterious bird. A sluggish and secretive warbler, it spends most of its time hidden low in woods and dense thickets, walking on the ground with slow and deliberate steps. It tends to migrate late in spring and early in fall, missing the peak of birding activity. Its northern nesting grounds (well to the north and west of Connecticut) are mostly in dense and impenetrable bogs.
Conservation status Status not well known, but no obvious declines in numbers. Would be vulnerable to loss of habitat, especially on wintering grounds.
Family Wood Warblers
Habitat Poplar bluffs, muskeg, mixed woods near water; in migration, undergrowth. In breeding season, in United States and eastern Canada, prefers bogs with black spruce or tamarack. In western Canada nests on dry ridges, and in open poplar or aspen stands. In migration, found in undergrowth of lowland woods or in dense thickets in meadows.
For many birders, the Connecticut Warbler remains a little-known and mysterious bird. A sluggish and secretive warbler, it spends most of its time hidden low in woods and dense thickets, walking on the ground with slow and deliberate steps. It tends to migrate late in spring and early in fall, missing the peak of birding activity. Its northern nesting grounds (well to the north and west of Connecticut) are mostly in dense and impenetrable bogs.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female
  • immature
Feeding Behavior

Forages mainly by walking on the ground, seeking insects among the leaf litter, sometimes flipping over dead leaves. Also walks along branches, picking prey from crevices in bark. In migration, may forage in small flocks with others of its kind.


Eggs

Usually 4-5. Creamy white, with black, brown, or lilac spots. Incubation period and roles of the parents are not well known. Apparently only rarely parasitized by cowbirds. Young: Both parents apparently care for young; age at which they leave the nest is not well known.


Young

Both parents apparently care for young; age at which they leave the nest is not well known.

Diet

Mostly insects. Details of diet not well studied. Undoubtedly feeds mostly on insects, like other warblers. Reported to feed its young on green caterpillars, also seen eating spiders, snails; may sometimes eat seeds and raspberries.


Nesting

Males sing from trees to defend nesting territory. Nest: Hidden in sphagnum moss hummock. In poplar woods, placed next to bunch of dry grass or weeds. Nest is an open cup, constructed of leaves, grass, and bark strips, or sometimes a simple hollow in moss lined with finer stems of grass.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Migrants enter and leave our area mostly via Florida, moving north-northwest in spring toward Great Lakes, moving south in fall mostly along Atlantic Coast. Migrates relatively late in spring and early in fall.

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Migration

Migrants enter and leave our area mostly via Florida, moving north-northwest in spring toward Great Lakes, moving south in fall mostly along Atlantic Coast. Migrates relatively late in spring and early in fall.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A loud, ringing beecher-beecher-beecher-beecher or chippy-chipper-chippy-chipper.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
Learn more about this sound collection.

How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Wood Warblers Perching Birds

Connecticut Warbler

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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