Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia)


The Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia) was first recorded by Alexander Wilson in the 1800s. He had noticed a specimen in the magnolia trees while in Mississippi. The name ‘Magnolia’ has persisted through the years, although this bird is native to the northeastern regions of the United States. Wilson had at first used the English name of “Black and Yellow Warbler” with “magnolia” as the Latin name. The Magnolia Warbler is part of the warbler family and is the most common of the warbler species in this area. These warblers prefer to forage close to the ground and in low growing bushes. Preferred habitat would be overgrown pastures, on the edges of a swamp or lake, or clearings that have small trees.

The Magnolia Warbler is a tiny bird that is approximately 13 centimeters in length and weighs about nine grams. It has bright yellow plumage over its throat, breast and belly, and is striped with black on its breast. The warbler also has a black mask on his face, a pale gray colored crown, and a white broken eye ring. The black coloring continues down its back, and runs into gray wings that have broad white edges. The female is relatively similar, with duller coloring. Its wingspan is about 20 centimeters, and the birds have extremely weak flight abilities, which results in the rapid beating of wings, and the alternating of wings to rest.

Male Magnolia Warblers are known to have two different bird songs. The one is used during the mating season, and the other is to protect its territory. The warbler feeds on insects as its primary source of food, but will also eat berries, and if humans have been kind enough to leave any bread product out they will gladly eat that too.

Shallow grass and root nests are built for the female to lay her eggs in. The warbler female will lay between three to five eggs, usually four, which are white in color and have brown spots on the shell. Only the female Magnolia Warbler will take part in the 11 to 13 day incubation period. The males will assist in the feeding of the chicks after they have hatched. Chicks will fledge the nest after 8 to 10 days.