Prairie Warbler

Setophaga discolor
Range Map

As a summer bird in the eastern USA, this bird is rarely found in the West. Most of these birds breed in the southeastern USA and parts of New England. Florida hosts a resident population of nonmigratory birds. In winter, some of these birds migrate only as far as Cuba and other Caribbean islands.

In March 2013, I met a wandering vagrant bird in San Diego County. So far, that’s been my only meeting with this species.

Taxonomists recognise two subspecies of Prairie Warbler. Body size, color and tail patterns are the keys they’ve called out to separate these two:

  • S. d. discolor breeds from southeastern Canada and eastern USA in northwestern Michigan, Iowa, Kansas and east Texas, southern Maine, most of Florida and the Mississippi Valley. In winter, they migrate to Florida, the Caribbean, and the coast of Central America.
  • S. d. paludicola lives in coastal southern Florida.

Prairie Warblers look for shrub habitat with scattered trees to breed. When not breeding, they prefer forest edges of either conifer or broadleaf woods.

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