At a Glance

A bird of thickets and open areas, usually seen low or on the ground. Birds from the easternmost part of the range ('Yellow Palm Warblers') are rather colorful, but most others are quite drab; however, they can be recognized by the constant bobbing of their tails. Many Palm Warblers spend the winter in the southeastern United States, especially in Florida, where they may be seen near palm groves but not up in the palms themselves.
Perching Birds, Wood Warblers
Low Concern
Coasts and Shorelines, Forests and Woodlands, Freshwater Wetlands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets
Alaska and The North, California, Eastern Canada, Florida, Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, New England, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Texas, Western Canada
Direct Flight, Flitter

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

Compared to most warblers, migrates early in spring and late in fall. The duller-plumaged "Western" Palm Warbler is more numerous along the Atlantic Coast in fall than in spring. Very small numbers winter regularly on the Pacific Coast.


5 1/2" (14 cm). Two types: "Yellow Palm Warbler" is less common, nests farther east, has more extensive yellow below. In all Palm Warblers, note yellow undertail coverts, tail-bobbing action, well-defined pale eyebrow. Crown is chestnut in breeding plumage, brown in winter.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Brown, Gray, Red, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Notched, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

Weak dry trill, like that of Chipping Sparrow but slower.
Call Pattern
Flat, Undulating
Call Type
Buzz, Chirp/Chip, Trill


Wooded borders of muskeg (summer). In migration, low trees, bushes, ground. Breeds in sphagnum bogs with scattered cedar, tamarack, and spruce trees. The western race also breeds in dry pine barrens of boreal forests with ground cover of blueberry, bearberry, and sweet fern. In migration, frequents old hedgerows, edges of streams and ponds, overgrown fields, and open pastures.



Usually 4-5. Creamy white with brown marks. Incubated possibly by both parents, 12 days. Rarely a host to cowbird eggs; defends against parasitism by covering cowbird eggs over, building a new layer at the bottom of the nest.


Fed by both parents. Young leave the nest at about 12 days and are able to fly short distances within 1-2 days after fledging. Probably 2 broods per year.

Feeding Behavior

In winter, does much foraging by walking and hopping on the ground. During the breeding season, gleans insects from foliage while perching or while hovering momentarily in black spruce, tamarack, and cedars. Also flies out to catch flying insects in mid-air. In fall, may join flocks with other warblers, chickadees, juncos, and sparrows.


Insects and berries. Feeds mostly on small beetles, mosquitoes, flies, caterpillars, aphids, grasshoppers, ants, bees, and spiders. Eats also a considerable amount of vegetable matter, including raspberries, bayberries, and seeds.


Some males have more than one mate. An early nester; birds arrive on breeding grounds in early April and begin nests by early May. Nest: Placed on or near the ground in a stunted spruce tree, close to the trunk. Open cup nest is frequently concealed under a clump of grass, and on top of a hummock of sphagnum moss. Constructed by the female of fine, dry grass stems and bark shreds; lined with feathers.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Numbers apparently stable. Faces no major threats to habitat on either breeding or wintering grounds; often winters in open or disturbed areas.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Palm Warbler. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Palm 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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