|Conservation status||Considered vulnerable because it is often parasitized by cowbirds, especially where forest is broken up into small patches, and because it favors undergrowth of tropical forest for wintering.|
|Habitat||Forest undergrowth. Breeds in forest interiors of mixed hardwoods in the north and cypress-gum swamps in the south. During migration, found in deciduous and mixed eastern forests. In winter, males compete for territories in humid lowland forest and females occupy mainly disturbed scrub or secondary forest.|
Hops on ground, low branches, or tree trunks while feeding, often gleaning insects from leaf surfaces in low shrubs. Will also make short flights to catch flying insects in the understory. Males may forage higher than females when feeding young. Both sexes maintain well-defined feeding territories during winter, giving conspicuous chip callnotes and attacking intruders of their own species.
Usually 4. Creamy white, with brown spots at larger end. Incubation is normally by female only, 12 days. Brown-headed Cowbirds lay eggs in many nests (up to 75% in some areas). Young: Fed by both parents. Young leave the nest 8-9 days after hatching, and can fly 2-3 days later. Fledglings are divided by parents, each adult caring for half the brood for up to 5 weeks. Often 2 broods per year.
Fed by both parents. Young leave the nest 8-9 days after hatching, and can fly 2-3 days later. Fledglings are divided by parents, each adult caring for half the brood for up to 5 weeks. Often 2 broods per year.
Insects and other arthropods. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, beetles, flies, and many others; also eats many small spiders.
Males usually return to occupy the same nesting territory as in previous years, but females usually move to a different territory. Nest: Female chooses site in patches of deciduous shrubs within forest or along edge. Site usually 1-4' above ground. Nest is open cup of dead leaves, bark, fine grasses, spiderwebs, hair, and plant down. Usually the female does most or all of the building.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates mostly at night. Many fly north and south across the Gulf of Mexico during migration. A rare stray in the Southwest, where many of the records are for spring or summer.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsClear, ringing tawee-tawee-tawee-tee-o.
Learn more about this sound collection.