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Overview

Brief Summary

Cardellina pusilla

A small (4 ¾ inches) wood warbler, Wilson’s Warbler is most easily identified by its black cap and yellow throat and breast. Other field marks include an olive-green back, thin black bill, and orange legs. The female Wilson’s Warbler is duller yellow-green and lacks the male’s black cap. Wilson’s Warbler breeds across a large portion of central Canada and Alaska. Smaller breeding populations occur south of the Canadian border in Maine, along the Pacific coast, and at higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains. Most Wilson’s Warblers winter in Mexico and Central America, but a small number spend the winter in south Texas and along the Gulf Coast of eastern Texas and Louisiana. In summer, Wilson’s Warbler breeds in overgrown thickets, clearings, and other semi-open habitats near woodland. During the winter, this species inhabits tropical forests as well as overgrown fields and scrubland. On migration, Wilson’s Warbler may be found in a variety of habitat types similar to those used for breeding. This species primarily eats insects and spiders, but occasionally also eats fruit. Despite its bright colors, Wilson’s Warbler is often difficult to observe due to its small size and preference for habitats with thick vegetation. With the aid of binoculars, Wilson’s Warblers may be seen deep in the undergrowth gleaning insects from branches. Wilson’s Warbler is most active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

Threat Status: Least Concern

  • Ammon, Elisabeth M. and William M. Gilbert. 1999. Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla), 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/478
  • Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
  • Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Wilsonia pusilla. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • eBird Range Map - Wilson's Warbler. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Breeding range extends from most of Alaska eastward across central Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland, and south to southern Alaska, southern California, Nevada, Utah, northern New Mexico, central Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba, northern Great Lakes region, northeastern New York, northern Vermont, central Maine, and Nova Scotia (AOU 1998).

Primary winter range extends from coastal California (rare), southern Baja California, southern Sonora, southern Texas, southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi (rare), southern Alabama (rare), and Florida south through Middle America (rarely in the Yucatan Peninsula) to Panama (AOU 1998).

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 12 cm

Weight: 7 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Depth range based on 5 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 13.353 - 15.249
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 3.951
  Salinity (PPS): 33.310 - 33.476
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.095
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 0.674
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 5.723

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 13.353 - 15.249

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 3.951

Salinity (PPS): 33.310 - 33.476

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.095

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 0.674

Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 5.723
 
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Comments: Habitat includes semi-open areas in moist woodlands, bogs with scattered trees, willow and alder thickets, and areas with similar vegatation structure. Winter habitats include semi-open or lightly wooded areas, such as the canopy, openings, and edges of forests, second growth, coffee plantations, brushy fields, and yards (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Nests are on the ground at the bases of shrubs (e.g., willows in the Sierra Nevada) or saplings or under cover of ground vegetation; nests may be above ground in thick vegetation in coastal California and Oregon. Individuals often return to the nesting areas used the previous year (Stewart et al. 1978).

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Depth range based on 5 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 13.353 - 15.249
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 3.951
  Salinity (PPS): 33.310 - 33.476
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.095
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 0.674
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 5.723

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 13.353 - 15.249

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 3.951

Salinity (PPS): 33.310 - 33.476

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.095

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 0.674

Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 5.723
 
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Migrants arrive in Sierra Nevada nesting areas in late May; on California coast, males begin to arrive in late March (Stewart et al. 1978). Migrants arrive in the southern winter range in mid-September, depart by mid-May (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Diet includes insects (wasps, ants, flies, beetles, caterpillars, etc.). Foraging occurs throughout available vegetation. Most food is obtained from leaves by gleaning while perched or flying (Stewart et al. 1978). In winter in Mexico, this warbler forages in the upper third of the canopy where the foliage is fairly dense and leaf size is small; leaves are the most common feeding substrate (Rappole and Warner 1980).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences.

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Global Abundance

>1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 1,000,000. Rich et al. (2004) estimated population size at 36,000,000.

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General Ecology

In California, territory size in different habitats ranges from about 0.2 to 2.0 ha (Stewart et al. 1978).

Usually this warbler is solitary and territorial in winter, but it may join mixed flocks (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 6.8 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Clutch size commonly is 3-4 in coastal California, 4-5 in the Sierra Nevada, 5-6 in Alaska. Incubation, by female, lasts 12-15 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 9-10 days in California. Some males are polygynous in the Sierra Nevada (Stewart et al. 1978).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Wilsonia pusilla

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 31 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGAATAGTGGGTACCGCCCTAAGCCTCCTTATCCGAGCAGAATTAGGCCAACCCGGAGCCCTTCTGGGAGACGACCAAGTTTACAACGTAGTTGTTACGGCCCATGCCTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTTATGCCAATTATGATCGGAGGCTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTTCCTTTAATAATCGGAGCCCCAGACATAGCATTCCCACGTATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTCCCACCATCATTCCTTCTACTTCTGGCATCCTCCACAGTTGAAGCAGGTGTCGGCACAGGCTGAACAGTATACCCTCCACTAGCCGGCAACCTAGCCCACGCCGGAGCCTCAGTCGACCTAGCAATCTTCTCTCTACACCTAGCCGGTATTTCATCAATCCTCGGAGCAATCAACTTCATTACAACAGCAATCAATATAAAACCTCCTGCCCTCTCACAATACCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTCTGATCCGTCCTAATCACTGCAGTTCTCCTACTCCTCTCTCTTCCAGTCCTAGCCGCAGGAATCACAATACTCCTAACAGACCGCAACCTCAACACTACATTCTTCGACCCAGCCGGAGGAGGAGACCCCGTCCTATACCAACATCTTTTCTGATTCTTCGGACACCCAGAAGTCTACATCTTAATCCTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Wilsonia pusilla

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 32
Specimens with Barcodes: 34
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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