A medium-sized (5-5 ½ inches) wood warbler, the male Golden-winged Warbler is most easily identified by its gray back, pale breast, yellow crown, black eye and throat patches, and gray wings with conspicuous yellow wing bars. Female Golden-winged Warblers are similar to males, but are somewhat duller overall with a greenish cast on the head and back. This species occasionally hybridizes with the related Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera), producing a dominant hybrid form (“Brewster’s Warbler,” which is pale below and olive green above with the Blue-winged Warbler’s black eye-stripes) and, more rarely, a recessive hybrid form (“Lawrence’s Warbler,” which is yellow below and olive-green above with the Golden-winged Warbler’s black facial markings). The Golden-winged Warbler breeds in portions of the eastern United States and southern Canada from Minnesota east to Massachusetts and from Ontario south to northern Georgia. In winter, this species migrates south to Central America and northern South America. Recently, this species has undergone declines at the southern part of its breeding range, perhaps due to habitat loss and competition with the Blue-winged Warbler. Golden-winged Warblers primarily breed in semi-open woodland habitats, particularly around forest edges, clearings, and places where ecological disturbance (forest fires, for example) has recently occurred. In winter, this species utilizes similar types of habitat in humid tropical forests. Golden-winged Warblers eat a variety of small invertebrates, primarily moths. In appropriate habitat, Golden-winged Warblers may be seen foraging for food on leaves and branches at middle heights in the canopy. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a buzzing “bee-bz-bz-bz” dropping in pitch at the end. Golden-winged Warblers are primarily active during the day.
- Confer, John L., Patricia Hartman and Amber Roth. 2011. Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/020
- Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/golden-winged-warbler-vermivora-chrysoptera.
- Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
- Vermivora chrysoptera. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Vermivora+chrysoptera.
- eBird Range Map - Golden-winged Warbler. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ebird.org/ebird/map/gowwar.
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