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.
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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.
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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.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Connecticut Warbler

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.

Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.

Climate threats facing the Connecticut Warbler

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.

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