Kentucky Warbler

Geothlypis formosa

In winter, like their relatives the Hooded Warblers, Kentucky Warblers leave their breeding grounds in the eastern USA and withdraw to the West Indies, the Caribbean, Northern South America, Mexico and South America. Their summer range extends from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, south to northern Florida, east to southern Great Lakes, then south to east Texas and most of the Gulf Coast.

While the Hooded Warblers like to stay low in the understory, the Kentucky Warbler prefers to remain on the ground, and probe the underside of leafy shrubs, searching for miniscule invertebrate prey items. Because of this foraging style, when I first met these birds on South Padre Island in spring of 2021, I struggled to capture a decent image, even though I had one walk almost over my shoes.

Today’s science sees the Kentucky Warbler as monotypic, meaning there are no subspecies recognised.

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