Photo: Rick & Nora Bowers/Vireo

Olive Warbler

Peucedramus taeniatus

In forests of pine, fir, and oak in southwestern mountains, the Olive Warbler is common in summer and sometimes remains through winter. As it searches for insects high in the trees, it might seem like a typical warbler, aside from its soft whistled callnote and the copper-colored head of the adult male. But DNA studies show that it is quite distinct, so it is now placed in its own family.
Conservation status Within its limited range in our area, numbers probably stable. Could be vulnerable to loss of habitat with cutting of forest farther south.
Family Olive Warblers
Habitat Pine and fir forests of high mountains. Breeds in mountain pine forests, generally at elevations of 6,000' and above. Prefers ponderosa pine, but also occurs in other pines, firs, Douglas-firs, and in adjacent oaks. In winter, at least some individuals move down into oak woodlands in lower foothills.
In forests of pine, fir, and oak in southwestern mountains, the Olive Warbler is common in summer and sometimes remains through winter. As it searches for insects high in the trees, it might seem like a typical warbler, aside from its soft whistled callnote and the copper-colored head of the adult male. But DNA studies show that it is quite distinct, so it is now placed in its own family.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female
  • adult male
Feeding Behavior

Usually forages in the upper one-third of pines and other trees. Creeps over branches and twigs of pines, taking insects from the twigs and from the bases of needle clusters. When not breeding, often seen foraging in mixed flocks including other warblers and also titmice, nuthatches, and other birds.


Eggs

Usually 3-4. Bluish-white with olive and brown marks at large end. Female incubates (and male might also?), but length of incubation period and roles of the parents are poorly known. Young: Probably both parents feed the nestlings, but details (including age at which young leave the nest) are not well known.


Young

Probably both parents feed the nestlings, but details (including age at which young leave the nest) are not well known.

Diet

Probably mostly insects. Details of the diet are not well known. Has been observed feeding on insects, and these undoubtedly make up majority of food.


Nesting

Details of breeding behavior not well studied, partly owing to the placement of its nest in the upper reaches of trees. Nest: Placed from 30'-70' up, usually in pine, and usually 15-20' out from the trunk on a branch. Nest (built by female) is an open cup of moss, lichen, pine bud scales, pine needles; lined with the soft white plant fibers from the underside of silver oak leaves, and rootlets.

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

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

Migration

Thought to be mostly a summer resident in our area, but at least some remain through winter. Becomes common in mountain forests by March, and can still be found in numbers into October.

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Migration

Thought to be mostly a summer resident in our area, but at least some remain through winter. Becomes common in mountain forests by March, and can still be found in numbers into October.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Song a whistled, titmouse-like series of phrases: peter-peter-peter. Call a down-slurred kew.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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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
Olive Warblers Perching Birds

Olive 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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