Description ADULT MALE Has yellow head and underparts, with black stripe through eye. Nape and back are olive-yellow and wings are bluish with two striking white wing bars. Male "Brewster's" has mostly pale, whitish head and underparts with yellow restricted to forehead and breast. Male "Lawrence's" recalls dull male Blue-winged but with a dark throat and patch through eye. ADULT FEMALE Less colorful than male with less distinct wing bars. Hybrid females have duller plumage than their hybrid male counterparts. IMMATURE Duller than adult female.
Dimensions Length: 4 1/2" (11 cm)
Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to scrub and secondary woodland; population may be increasing.
Observation Tips Easiest to detect by hearing song.
Range Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Eastern Canada, New England, Rocky Mountains, Texas, Plains, Great Lakes
Voice Song is a high-pitched buzzing trill, in two parts with different tones; call is a sharp tsik.
Discussion Colorful wood-warbler. Forages unobtrusively for insects, and silent birds are easy to overlook. Almost unmistakable but, confusingly, hybridizes with Golden-winged; two distinct hybrid forms occur ("Brewster's" and "Lawrence's" Warblers), males of which are fairly easy to recognize. Sexes are dissimilar.
Migration Info This species has shown a dramatic increase in its breeding range as humans have cleared the great eastern forests. Unlike many other eastern birds, this species uses the east coast flyway in both spring and fall. Primarily a trans-Gulf migrant, this is usually among the first of the wood warblers to reach the upper Texas coast in early March. Like many other warblers that winter in Central America, this species associates in mixed flocks during the winter. These roving bands of insect eaters may be composed of several species of neotropical migrants as well as year-round tropical residents.