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Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Setophaga coronata

The Yellow-Rumped Warbler used to be considered as two species: the Audubon’s Warbler (Dendroica coronata auduboni) in the west, and the Myrtle Warbler (Dendroica coronata coronata) in the east. We rarely see the Myrtle Warbler on the west coast of the USA. The Audubon’s Warbler is very commonly found here. At one time the two were considered separate species, but in 1973 they were classified as the same species. Genetic studies from 2006 suggest it is less than clear that these two birds should be classified as full species or continue as subspecies in their taxonomy.

I learned there are two more members of the Yellow-Rumped complex: the Black-Fronted Warbler (Dendroica coronata nigrifrons) from northern Mexico, and the Goldman’s Warbler (Dendroica coronata goldmani) from southern Mexico and Guatemala.

A more recent move in this “name-game” is the change in genus applied to this complex. No longer is Dendroica use for these birds, now Setophaga is the preferred name <sigh>.

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