Yellow-throated warbler (Dendroica dominica)

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Yellow-throated warbler, side view
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Yellow-throated warbler fact file

Yellow-throated warbler description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyParulidae
GenusDendroica (1)

The yellow-throated warbler (Dendroica dominica) is the most common member of the genus Dendroica in the southern United States, where it is known for being a harbinger of spring (2). It is aptly named for its brilliant plumage, with the bright yellow throat and breast, along with the white patch on the side of the neck, distinguishing this largely blue-grey bird from similar species. Other characteristics of the yellow-throated warbler include a white belly, two white bars on the wing, black streaks along the side, a long black bill and brown legs and feet (3).

The male and female yellow-throated warbler are difficult to distinguish, although the female is often duller (2). The spring adult male has the most vibrant colouration, just before it moults (4). The juvenile has an olive-brown head, and the body has brown, grey and white spots, as well as white wingbars (3).

The yellow-throated warbler is rather variable across its large range. A subspecies native to the Bahamas, Dendroica dominica flavescens, has an especially long, partially curved bill, an extensive yellow belly, and less obvious white patches (3). However, this subspecies is now considered to be a separate species, the Bahama warbler (Dendroica flavescens) (5). The yellow-throated warbler is similar to Grace’s warbler (Dendroica graciae), although this relative lacks white patches on the neck (3).

Size
Length: 13 - 14 cm (2)
Weight
9 - 11 g (2)
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Yellow-throated warbler biology

With short hops along the branches, the yellow-throated warbler will forage for insects and spiders in tree bark and foliage, using its long bill to reach far into the tree (2) (4). This ability is unusual among most other warblers, which reduces competition between species (2)

As the yellow-throated warbler nests primarily in the highest parts of the canopy, studying its breeding habits has proven difficult (2). As such, there is little information available on its reproductive behaviour. However, pairs appear to be monogamous and form a pair that remains together throughout the breeding season, until the fledglings leave the nest (2). The male attracts a mate by using a single, incessant, loud song that emanates from the tops of the canopy, sometimes 50 metres up. Outside of the breeding season, the yellow-throated warbler is found individually, often in flocks made up of many other species (2).

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Yellow-throated warbler range

The yellow-throated warbler is a migratory species, and during the winter it is found throughout the Caribbean, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico as far as Texas, and east to the Florida peninsula and the Bahamas. It breeds in the eastern and central United States, where it is found as far north as Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania (2).

There are several subspecies of the yellow-throated warbler. The subspecies, D. d. dominica is non-migratory and resides year-round in the southern parts of this species’ breeding range (2). However, most subspecies breed along the east coast, the northeast, or west of the Appalachian Mountains (3). One subspecies, D. d. stoddard, is found in a very small area in the panhandle of Florida and southern Alabama (2)

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Yellow-throated warbler habitat

Occupying a great variety of forested areas, the yellow-throated warbler may be found in a range of habitats, including cypress swamps, pine and oak forests and suburban parks. During migration, this species is found in almost any habitat with tall trees (2).

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Yellow-throated warbler status

The yellow-throated warbler is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Yellow-throated warbler threats

There are currently no known major threats to the yellow-throated warbler. In fact, this species’ range is currently expanding, possibly due to the restoration of many areas after the effects of large-scale deforestation in the nineteenth century (3).

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Yellow-throated warbler conservation

No specific conservation action has been targeted at the yellow-throated warbler, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considered adding the subspecies D. d. stoddard to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1994 (6).

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Find out more

Find out more about the yellow-throated warbler and its conservation:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Monogamous
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
Moult
Periodic shedding of (usually) the outermost body covering (such as feathers, fur or skin) during growth and development, or at specific times of the year.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Hall, G.A. (1996) Yellow-throated warbler (Dendroica dominica). In: Poole, A. (Ed.) The Birds of North America Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca. Available at:
    http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/223
  3. Dunn, J. and Garrett, K. (1997) A Field Guide to the Warblers of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York.
  4. Earley, C.G. (2003) Warblers of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America. Firefly books Ltd., New York.
  5. BirdLife International - Yellow-throated warbler (February, 2013)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=112653
  6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (July, 2011)
    http://www.fws.gov/ecos/ajax/docs/frdocs/1994/94-28029.html
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Image credit

Yellow-throated warbler, side view  
Yellow-throated warbler, side view

© Bill Benish

Bill Benish
bill.benish@gmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/people/billy3001/

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