Grace’s Warbler

Setophaga graciae
Range Map

Grace’s Warblers winter in southern Mexico and northern Central America. Many of the birds in the southern part of their range remain on territory year-round or migrate only a short distance. In spring, birds in the northern parts of their range migrate to northern Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and slightly into the bordering regions to the north.

Because these birds prefer to stay at the highest reaches of trees in mature pine forests, we have studied less of its biology than many of its other warbler cousins.

Today, science recognises four subspecies of Grace’s Warbler:

  • S. g. graciae breeds from southern Nevada, east to southwestern Colorado and south to northern Sinaloa (Mexico). They spend winters in the highlands of western Mexico.
  • S. g. yaegeri breeds in the mountains of southern Mexico, in Sinaloa, Durango, Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Jalisco. Most birds remain on territory through the winter.
  • S. g. remota lives in the highlands of southern Mexico and Central America.
  • S. g. decora lives on the Caribbean slope of northern Central America.

I have fond memories of the time I’ve spent with these birds while I stayed north of Tucson (Arizona) in March 2017. I parked my RV at a primitive location on Mount Lemmon called Incinerator Ridge, and spent three days enjoying the company of Grace’s, Red-Faced, Olive and other warbler species. Several of these were brand new meetings for me.

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