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Golden-winged Warbler

Credit: Tom Hince

Vermivora chrysoptera

Species at Risk Status

Federal Government status: Threatened

Provincial Government status: Special Concern


  • Typical warbler size bird (12 cm)
  • Male has a slate-gray back and nape and a white chest and abdomen. The crown and forehead are bright yellow and contrast with a black cheek and throat patch. Thin white lines separate the crown from the cheek patch and the cheek patch from the throat patch. The slate-gray wings have a yellow patch.
  • On females, the cheek and throat patch are gray and the back and chest may have a hint of yellow or olive.
  • Lifespan of up to 8 years


  • Feeds on insects, such as caterpillars and spiders usually in tree tops with some feeding in lower shrubs.

Habits and Reproduction

  • Mid May returns from wintering grounds in Central America and the north coast of South America.
  • Nest on or near ground usually in a grass, fern, or weed clump or at the base of shrubs, such as alders.
  • 4-5 eggs, one brood per year but will re-nest if eggs are lost.
  • Nests in loose colonies of 2-6 pairs.
  • Stops singing usually by mid June when it is feeding their young.


  • Early succession forest or shrub habitat, such as alder thickets.


  • Brown-headed Cowbirds lay their eggs in golden-winged nests and the young cowbirds out compete the young warblers (brood parasitism).
  • Cross breeding with Blue-winged Warblers.
  • Loss of winter habitat.

Conservation Actions

  • If you’re a coffee drinker, try to buy shade grown, preferably organic coffee. You’ll help protect over wintering habitat for many of our song birds.

Range Map

Bird Studies Canada

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