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Overview

Brief Summary

Setophaga magnolia

A medium-sized (4 ¾ inches) wood warbler, the male Magnolia Warbler is most easily identified by its dark gray back, streaked flanks, white wing patches, and bright yellow underparts with a conspicuous black face mask. Female Magnolia Warblers are similar to males, but are slightly duller and lack the white on the wings. Both sexes resemble the male Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata), but that species is less streaked below and lacks the Magnolia Warbler’s extensive yellow on the breast. The Magnolia Warbler breeds across southern Canada and the northeastern United States. This species is also present at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains as far south as Tennessee. In winter, Yellow-throated Warblers may be found in the West Indies, southern Mexico, and Central America. Magnolia Warblers breed in a variety of dense woodland habitats, particularly those largely composed of evergreen trees. In winter, this species may be found in humid tropical forests and tropical scrub. Magnolia Warblers primarily eat small invertebrates, including insects and spiders. In appropriate habitat, Magnolia Warblers may be observed foraging for insects on the ends of branches in the middle of the tree canopy. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a whistled “weeta weeta weetsee.” Magnolia Warblers are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

Threat Status: Least Concern

  • Dendroica magnolia. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Dunn, Erica and George A. Hall. 2010. Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia), 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/136
  • Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
  • eBird Range Map - Magnolia Warbler. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
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Distribution

The Magnolia Warbler, during breeding season, is found in central and southern Canada, down into the northern United States, such as in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The warblers are commonly found in both the Appalachian Mountains as well as in the New England region, approximately as far south as North Carolina. In the winter however, the Magnolia Warbler migrates south, wintering from Mexico to Panama. It is occasionally found in the West Indies, the western and southern United States.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

  • Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, 2001. "Magnolia Warbler" (On-line). Accessed March 20, 2002 at http://birds.cornell.edu/BOW/magwar/.
  • Curson, J. 1994. New World Warblers. London: Christopher Helm Publishers.
  • Griscom, L., A. Sprunt Jr.. 1979. The Warblers of America. New York: Doubleday.
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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: BREEDING: northeastern British Columbia and western and southern Mackenzie to Newfoundland, south to southern Canada, central Wisconsin, central Michigan, northern Ohio, western Virginia, Maryland, and New England. NON-BREEDING: primarily from Veracruz through Yucatan peninsula south to Honduras; less commonly from Costa Rica to Panama and rarely in West Indies (rare and irregular in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John).

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Geographic Range

The Magnolia Warbler, during breeding season, is found in central and southern Canada, down into the northern United States, such as in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The warblers are commonly found in both the Appalachian Mountains as well as in the New England region, approximately as far south as North Carolina. In the winter however, the Magnolia Warbler migrates south, wintering from Mexico to Panama. It is occasionally found in the West Indies, the western and southern United States.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

  • Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, 2001. "Magnolia Warbler" (On-line). Accessed March 20, 2002 at http://birds.cornell.edu/BOW/magwar/.
  • Curson, J. 1994. New World Warblers. London: Christopher Helm Publishers.
  • Griscom, L., A. Sprunt Jr.. 1979. The Warblers of America. New York: Doubleday.
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Range

E North America; winters to Panama and West Indies.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Physical Description

Morphology

The Magnolia Warbler is easily recognizable due to its distinctive yellow and black coloring. Its tail is black at the tip with large white spots which make up a band in the middle. The rump and most of its underparts of the Magnolia Warbler are yellow. It also has black streaks on its breast. Breeding males have a black face as well. Females are similar except that they also have more white on their wings as well as grey on their heads. Their colors tend to be a bit duller, and their patterns less distinct than those of the males. Juvenile Magnolia Warblers also tend to be duller in color, with more grey than black, as well as having some brown or olive coloring on the body. They also may have white bands around their eyes. The specific coloration patterns of the Magnolia Warbler varies greatly depending on the stage of life it is in (breeding or not-breeding, adult, juvenile, or first-year, male or female, etc.)

(Kulba & Reichwein, Date Unknown; Curson, 1994; Alsop, 2001)

Range mass: 6.6 to 12.6 g.

Average mass: 8 g.

Range length: 12 to 13 cm.

Average wingspan: 19.68 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Physical Description

The Magnolia Warbler is easily recognizable due to its distinctive yellow and black coloring. Its tail is black at the tip with large white spots which make up a band in the middle. The rump and most of its underparts of the Magnolia Warbler are yellow. It also has black streaks on its breast. Breeding males have a black face as well. Females are similar except that they also have more white on their wings as well as grey on their heads. Their colors tend to be a bit duller, and their patterns less distinct than those of the males. Juvenile Magnolia Warblers also tend to be duller in color, with more grey than black, as well as having some brown or olive coloring on the body. They also may have white bands around their eyes. The specific coloration patterns of the Magnolia Warbler varies greatly depending on the stage of life it is in (breeding or not-breeding, adult, juvenile, or first-year, male or female, etc.)

(Kulba & Reichwein, Date Unknown; Curson, 1994; Alsop, 2001)

Range mass: 6.6 to 12.6 g.

Average mass: 8 g.

Range length: 12 to 13 cm.

Average wingspan: 19.68 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful

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Size

Length: 13 cm

Weight: 9 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The name of the Magnolia Warbler is misleading because it is actually rarely found in Magnolia trees. It was named by Alexander Wilson who happened to see one of these birds in a magnolia tree in the South, on its annual migration. The Magnolia Warbler is instead found in damp coniferous forests, which include trees like pine, red maple, spruce, hemlocks, and balsam firs. It tends to dwell in the lower parts of the trees.

(Kaufman, 1996; Alsop, 2001; Harrison, 1984; Griscom & Sprunt, 1979)

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

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Comments: Hemlocks, low dense thickets of spruce and fir, overgrown clearings, swamp and pond borders where small trees grow, forest edge. In British Columbia, breeds in mature, mixed forests and openings in mixed or coniferous woods where a dense conifer shrub layer has developed (Campbell et al. 2001). In migration and winter also in various open forest, woodland, scrub, and thicket habitats; usually secondary and disturbed woodland (Pashley 1989). BREEDING: Nests on branch among twigs and foliage of conifer, or by trunk, usually 4 m or less above ground.

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The name of the Magnolia Warbler is misleading because it is actually rarely found in Magnolia trees. It was named by Alexander Wilson who happened to see one of these birds in a magnolia tree in the South, on its annual migration. The Magnolia Warbler is instead found in damp coniferous forests, which include trees like pine, red maple, spruce, hemlocks, and balsam firs. It tends to dwell in the lower parts of the trees.

(Kaufman, 1996; Alsop, 2001; Harrison, 1984; Griscom & Sprunt, 1979)

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

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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.

In Costa Rica, most winter specimens were taken October-April; present from mid-September through April (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Trophic Strategy

The Magnolia Warbler feeds almost exclusively on insects. It forages for its food in the lower or middle branches of the trees. It picks insects off of tree needles, leaves, and twigs, as well as sometimes from the undersides of plants and under the bark of trees. Sometimes it will also hover to search for food and fly short distances to catch its prey. During bad weather, when insects can be hard to find, the Magnolia Warbler will also feed on berries.

Foods eaten include: beetles, moth caterpillars, leafhoppers, aphids, spiders, worms, flies, plant lice and berries.

(Kaufman, 1996; Curson, 1994; Griscom & Sprunt, 1979)

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: fruit

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Comments: Gleans insects and spiders from bark of conifers (Terres 1980). Costa Rica: gleans insects and spiders from upper surfaces of leaves, sometimes pursues prey in air (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Also consumes small fruits in winter. In Jamaica in winter, prefers taller trees, forages between 1/4 and 1/2 way up; takes most prey from trees with thin broad leaves (Lack 1976). In Mexico in winter, forages in the upper third of the canopy where foliage is fairly dense and leaf size is small; leaves are the most common feeding substrate (Rappole and Warner 1980).

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Food Habits

The Magnolia Warbler feeds almost exclusively on insects. It forages for its food in the lower or middle branches of the trees. It picks insects off of tree needles, leaves, and twigs, as well as sometimes from the undersides of plants and under the bark of trees. Sometimes it will also hover to search for food and fly short distances to catch its prey. During bad weather, when insects can be hard to find, the Magnolia Warbler will also feed on berries.

Foods eaten include: beetles, moth caterpillars, leafhoppers, aphids, spiders, worms, flies, plant lice and berries.

(Kaufman, 1996; Curson, 1994; Griscom & Sprunt, 1979)

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: fruit

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Associations

The Magnolia Warbler eats insects which are harmful to woodland trees, such as plant lice, leaf hoppers, and beetles. The Magnolia Warbler also occasionally acts as a host species to the parasitic cowbird, which steals eggs and food from the warbler.

(Bent, 1953; Harrison, 1984)

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The Magnolia Warbler takes great care to hide its nest deep within the dense growth of the forest, in order to protect its eggs from predators. Cowbirds lay their eggs in Magnolia Warbler nests and the young cowbirds may eject eggs or young of their hosts. Hawks are known egg and young predators (Harrison, 1984; Bent, 1953)

Known Predators:

  • cowbirds (Molothrus)
  • hawks (Accipitridae)

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Ecosystem Roles

The Magnolia Warbler eats insects which are harmful to woodland trees, such as plant lice, leaf hoppers, and beetles. The Magnolia Warbler also occasionally acts as a host species to the parasitic cowbird, which steals eggs and food from the warbler.

(Bent, 1953; Harrison, 1984)

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Predation

The Magnolia Warbler takes great care to hide its nest deep within the dense growth of the forest, in order to protect its eggs from predators. Cowbirds lay their eggs in Magnolia Warbler nests and the young cowbirds may eject eggs or young of their hosts. Hawks are known egg and young predators (Harrison, 1984; Bent, 1953)

Known Predators:

  • cowbirds (Molothrus)
  • hawks (Accipitridae)

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Known predators

Dendroica magnolia is prey of:
Accipitridae
Molothrus

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Dendroica magnolia preys on:
Annelida
Arthropoda
Insecta

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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General Ecology

Territorial in winter in Mexico (Rappole and Warner 1980).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Communication and Perception

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

The maximum lifespan of the Magnolia Warbler is recorded at 6 years and 11 months.

(Klimkiewicz, 2002)

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
7 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
96 months.

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Lifespan/Longevity

The maximum lifespan of the Magnolia Warbler is recorded at 6 years and 11 months.

(Klimkiewicz, 2002)

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
7 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
96 months.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 8 years (wild)
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Reproduction

The Magnolia Warbler is monogamous. During breeding season, the males grow very competitive and try to impress the females by showing off their distinctive coloring. The males also can get violent with each other at this time, fighting one another with their beaks and wings. Males also tend to sing cheerful tunes to the female they have chosen to mate with. (Alsop, 2001; Bent, 1953)

Mating System: monogamous

Magnolia Warblers create their nests in low tree branches or twigs, usually in the most dense areas of the forest. They seem to build rather messy nests, which are put together very carelessly, and are not very stable or secure. They are made up of twigs, weeds, hay, and grass.

The female Magnolia Warbler lays from 3-5 eggs at a time and they lay their eggs once a year. The eggs are white, creamy white, or sometimes greenish white. They are speckled with brown spots or splotches which can range from very dark to very light and very few to very many. The eggs are slightly glossy. They measure, on average, 16.3 by 12.3 millimeters. Incubation lasts 11 to 13 days.

After a chick hatches, its eyes open after about 3 or 4 days. The feathers become well developed after only about 8 or 9 days. This is also about the same time they first leave the nest and begin to find their own food.  (Curson, 1994; Kaufman, 1996; Bent, 1953)

Breeding season: May-June

Range eggs per season: 3 to 5.

Range time to hatching: 11 to 13 days.

Range fledging age: 8 to 10 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Average eggs per season: 4.

Females incubate the eggs and have a more active role in the raising of the young birds, but both the male and the female supply food to the young. Even after they fledge, baby birds remain close to one another and to their parents for about a month afterward. During this time, the parents continue to provide food for the young, however after this time they are on their own. (Bent, 1953; Alsop, 2001)

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care

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Eggs are laid in late May and June. Clutch size is 3-5 (usually 4). Incubation lasts 11-13 days, by female. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 8-10 days.

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The Magnolia Warbler is monogamous. During breeding season, the males grow very competitive and try to impress the females by showing off their distinctive coloring. The males also can get violent with each other at this time, fighting one another with their beaks and wings. Males also tend to sing cheerful tunes to the female they have chosen to mate with. (Alsop, 2001; Bent, 1953)

Mating System: monogamous

Magnolia Warblers create their nests in low tree branches or twigs, usually in the most dense areas of the forest. They seem to build rather messy nests, which are put together very carelessly, and are not very stable or secure. They are made up of twigs, weeds, hay, and grass.

The female Magnolia Warbler lays from 3-5 eggs at a time and they lay their eggs once a year. The eggs are white, creamy white, or sometimes greenish white. They are speckled with brown spots or splotches which can range from very dark to very light and very few to very many. The eggs are slightly glossy. They measure, on average, 16.3 by 12.3 millimeters. Incubation lasts 11 to 13 days.

After a chick hatches, its eyes open after about 3 or 4 days. The feathers become well developed after only about 8 or 9 days. This is also about the same time they first leave the nest and begin to find their own food.  (Curson, 1994; Kaufman, 1996; Bent, 1953)

Breeding season: May-June

Range eggs per season: 3 to 5.

Range time to hatching: 11 to 13 days.

Range fledging age: 8 to 10 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Average eggs per season: 4.

Females incubate the eggs and have a more active role in the raising of the young birds, but both the male and the female supply food to the young. Even after they fledge, baby birds remain close to one another and to their parents for about a month afterward. During this time, the parents continue to provide food for the young, however after this time they are on their own. (Bent, 1953; Alsop, 2001)

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Dendroica magnolia

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


There are 26 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.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNCCGGAATAGTAGGTACCGCCCTAAGCCTCCTCATTCGAGCAGAACTAGACCAACCCGGAGCCCTTCTGGGAGACGACCAAGTCTACAACGTAGTCGTCACGGCCCATGCCTTTGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTTATGCCAATTATAATCGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCTCTAATAATCGGAGCCCCAGACATAGCATTCCCACGAATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTCCCACCATCATTCCTCCTACTCCTAGCATCCTCCACAGTTGAAGCAGGCGTGGGTACTGGCTGAACAGTGTACCCCCCACTAGCTGGCAACCTAGCCCACGCCGGAGCCTCAGTCGACCTCGCAATCTTCTCCTTACACCTAGCCGGTATTTCCTCAATCCTCGGAGCAATCAACTTCATTACAACAGCAATTAACATGAAACCTCCCGCCCTCTCACAATACCAAACCCCACTATTCGTTTGATCAGTCCTAATCACTGCAGTCCTCCTACTTCTCTCTCTTCCAGTTCTGGCTGCAGGAATCACAATGCTCCTCACAGACCGCAACCTAAACACTACATTCTTCGACCCTGCTGGAGGAGGGGATCCAGTTCTATACCAACATCTTTTCTGATTCTTCGGCCATCCAGAAGTNAAAATCCTAATCCTCTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Dendroica magnolia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 26
Specimens with Barcodes: 29
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). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not 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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