Florence Merriam Bailey.

Handbook of birds of the western United States : including the Great Plains, Great Basin, Pacific Slope, and lower Rio Grande Valley online

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5. Sides of head black. Eastern United States.

caerulescens, p. 412.

5'. Sides of head black and white, iiigrescens, p. 418.

Fig. 511.

4'. Sides of head partly or wholly yellow.

5. Sides of head wholly yellow.

occidentalis, p. 421.

Fig. 512. 5'. Sides of head not wholly yellow.

6. Sides of head marked with olive. Eastern United
States virens, p. 420.

6'. Sides of head marked with black.

7. Cheeks crossed by narrow black eye streak.

chrysoparia, p. 419.

7. Cheeks crossed by wide black band.

townsendi, p. 421.

Pig. 515.


3'. Throat white.

4. Crown blue or black.

5. Crown blue. Eastern United States, rara, p. 416.

5'. Crown black striata, p. 416.

4'. Crown yellow or with yellow patch.

5. Rump yellow ; under parts white, black, and yellow.

coronata, p. 412.

5'. Rump not yellow ; under parts white, with chestnut
sides pensylvanica, p. 416.

Fig. 518.


1. Tail with yellow on inner webs.

2. Upper parts grayish yellow. Arizona to Texas, soiiorana, p. 411.
2'. Upper parts greenish.

3. Upper parts greenish yellow aestiva, p. 411.

3'. Upper parts dull olive green rubiginosa, p. 412.

1'. Tail without yellow on inner webs.
2. Rump yellow.

3. Under parts bright yellow, streaked with black. Eastern United

States maculosa, p. 415.

3'. Under parts mainly whitish.
4. Throat yellowish.

5. More heavily streaked on darker ground, nigrifrons, p. 415.
5'. Less heavily streaked on lighter ground. auduboni, p. 413.

4'. Throat whitish coronata, p. 412.

2'. Rump not yellow.

3. Plumage not conspicuously marked with yellow or green.

4. Upper parts gray and black nigresceiis, p. 418.

4'. Upper parts streaked black and white . . . striata, p. 416.
3'. Plumage conspicuously marked with yellow or green.

4. Sides of head or throat marked with bright lemon yellow.
5. Sides of head gray or white.

6. Throat, chest, and loral streak yellow . . graciae, p. 418.
6'. Under parts white, with chestnut sides.

pensylvanica, p. 416.
5'. Sides of head yellow, or yellow and olive.

6. Upper parts grayish occidentalis, p. 421.

6'. Upper parts mainly or partly olive green.
7. Upper parts olive green and gray. Texas.

chrysoparia, p. 419.
7'. Upper parts plain olive green.


8. Upper parts bright green, unstreaked. Eastern United

States virens, p. 420.

8'. Upper parts dull green^ streaked, townsendi, p. 421.
4'. Neither sides of head nor throat marked with bright lemon yel-
5. Upper parts olive brown or greenish.

6. Upper parts olive brown. Eastern United States.

palmarum, p. 422.
6'. Upper parts greenish.

7. Wings and tail edged with greenish. Eastern United States.

rara, p. 416.
7'. Wings and tail not edged with green.

8. Under parts greenish buff . . caerulescens, p. 412.
5'. Upper parts neither olive brown nor greenish.
6. Head with yellow or orange crown patch.

blackburniae, p. 417.
6'. Whole head buffy yellow. New Mexico and Arizona.

olivacea, p. 410.

Subgenus Peucedramus.
651. Dendroica olivacea (Giraud). OLIVE WARBLEK.

Adult male in summer. Head, neck, and chest orange brown, sometimes
tinged with olive ; belly soiled whitish ; lores
and ear coverts black ; nape olive, sometimes

extending over back of head; rest of upper

Fig 519 parts gray ; wings with two white bars and white

patch at base of primaries ; tail with two outer
pairs of feathers mainly white. Adult female in summer and male of second
year: crown and hind neck olive green ; sides of throat and chest yellowish,
throat sometimes nearly white ; lores grayish ; wing bars narrower than in
adult male ; white spot at base of primaries smaller, sometimes obsolete.
Adult male in winter : like summer male, but head, neck, and chest duller,
more clay color ; sides and flanks browner ; back more olivaceous. Adult
female in winter : like summer female, but plumage softer in texture and
posterior wing band more or less tinged with yellowish. Young male, first
plumage : like adult female, but upper parts dull olive or brownish olive ;
sides of head and neck dull buffy, neck tinged with olive ; throat and chest
buffy. Young female, first plumage : like young male, but paler. Male :
length (skins) 4.45-5.08, wing 2.84-3.07, tail 1.97-2.20, bill .36-.47. Fe-
male : length (skins) 4.33-4.92, wing 2.64-2.87, tail 1.86-2.09, bill .35-.47.
Distribution. Breeds in Upper Transition and Canadian zones from
mountains of New Mexico and Arizona south to Guatemala.

Nest. In fork of a conifer, 30 to 50 feet from the ground, made some-
times like a gnatcatcher's nest, of rootlets, flower stalks, moss, lichens, or
fir blossoms and spider's web, lined with rootlets. Eggs : 3 or 4, olive
gray or sage green, thickly covered with black specks, sometimes almost
obscuring the ground color.

Mr. Scott found the olive warblers in southern Arizona associated
with Mexican bluebirds in the pines. In looking for food, he says,
their motions were very deliberate, though occasionally suggesting
kinglets or titmice in their way of hunting over the tips of the

Mr. W. W. Price found them breeding in the mountains of Ari-


zona between 9000 and 10,000 feet, the male following the female
ibout while she collected material for the nest, uttering at times ' a
liquid quirt, quirt, quirt, in a descending scale.'

Subgenus Dendroica.

652. Dendroica sestiva (GmeL). YELLOW WARBLER,

Adult male. Under parts yellow ; breast and belly streaked with rufous ;
forehead bright yellow, front of crown often tinged with
orange ; hind neck and rest of upper parts yellowish
green, brightest on rump ; wing edgings yellow ; inner
webs of tail feathers, except middle pair, light yellow.
Adult female and male in Jirst autumn : upper parts plain
.. ^ yellowish green, usually darker than in male, lighter on

Fig. 5LO. forehead and rump ; under parts paler and duller, usually
unstreaked. Young female in first autumn: like adult female, but duller
olive green above, olive whitish slightly tinged with yellow below ; under
tail coverts pale yellow. Male : length (skins) 3.94-4.92, wing 2.36-2.80,
tail 1.65-2.09, bill .39-.43. Female: length (skins) 4.02-4.57, wing 2.24-
2.68, tail 1.54-1.77, bill .39-.43.

Remarks. The yellow on the inner webs of the tail feathers, together
with the general yellow coloration, are enough to distinguish the cestiva
group in all ages and sexes.

Distribution. North America, except Alaska and southwestern United
States ; migrates to Central America and northern South America. Breeds
nearly throughout its North American range.

Nest. Compact and cup-shaped, made largely of gray plant fibers,
lined with down and feathers ; placed in bushes or trees. Eggs : 2 to 6,
greenish, spotted usually around larger end with brown, black, and lilac

Food. Insects.

The yellow warblers are birds of the chaparral, of willows, and
thickets along streams in uninhabited regions, and of parks and
gardens where the gods provide. When seen in the chaparral thick-
ets the glimpse of yellow tail patches is enough to identify them as
they disappear, but in towns where they are tame the bricky streak-
ing of the breast can be seen as they stand on a flowering bush and
lift their heads to sing. They have so much singing to do and so
many insects to catch that it keeps them busy. Their song is loud
and cheery and they have the fine chip of their family. In their
manner of life they belong to the quiet part of the warbler tribe,
hunting usually in a leisurely way as if they knew that their song
was needed to add the real summer feeling to the blooming shrubs.

652a. D. a. sonorana Brewst. SONORA YELLOW WARBLER.

Like cestiva, but much paler ; adult male lighter, more yellowish olive
green above, back often streaked with brown, crown usually clear yellow ;
under parts lighter yellow than in cestiva ; chest and sides more narrowly
streaked ; adult female conspicuously paler than in cestiva, upper parts often
larg-ely pale grayish ; under parts usually pale huffy yellow. Male : length
(skins) 4.21-4.76, wing 2.32-2.60, tail 1.77-2.20, bill .39-.43. Female:
Jength (skins) 4.33-4.57, wing 2.24-2.40, tail 1.65-1.77, bill .39.


Distribution. From southern Arizona to western Texas and south to
northwestern Mexico ; in winter to Guatemala and Nicaragua.

65 2b. D. a. rubiginosa (Pall). ALASKAN YELLOW WARBLER.

Like cestiva, but slightly smaller and much duller ; adult male with
upper parts darker, duller olive green, crown like back or only slightly
yellower on forehead ; adult female duller olive green above, duller yellow
below. Male: length (skins) 4.02-4.45, wing 2.40-2.48, tail 1.57-1.81, bill
.39. Female : length (skins) 3.90-4.33, wing 2.24-2.44, tail 1.61-1.73, bill .39.

Distribution. Alaska, south to Vancouver, migrating southward.

654. Dendroica cserulescens (GmeL). BLACK-THROATED BLUE


Adult male in spring and summer. Face, throat, sides, and flanks black,
sides and flanks streaked with white ; rest of under parts white ;
upper parts grayish blue ; wing with conspicuous white patch at
base of primaries. Adult female in spring and summer: upper
parts olive, usually with white spot at base of primaries ; tail
feathers edged with bluish or greenish gray ; inner web of
Fig. 521. outside feather sometimes with paler or whitish spot ; eyelids
with whitish streaks, that of upper lid extending over ear coverts ; under
parts pale olive yellowish, shaded with olive laterally. Adult male in fall
and winter : like spring male, but white of flanks faintly tinged with brown-
ish buff and bill brownish instead of black. Adult female in fall and winter :
like summer female, but upper parts greener ; under parts yellower.
Young male in first fall and winter : like adult winter male, but white of
under parts more or less tinged with yellowish, bluish gray of upper parts
tinged with olive green ; black feathers of throat edged with whitish.
Young male, first plumage : wings and tail as in fall males ; white spot at base
of primaries fully developed ; lores black ; rest of upper parts dark olive
brown ; throat and superciliary buff y ; breast and sides ashy ; belly sul-
phur yellow. Young female, Jirst plumage : wings and tail like winter fe-
male ; spot at base of primaries soiled white ; rest of upper parts light olive
brown ; lores dull black ; under parts buff y, olive buff on breast and sides.
Male: length (skins) 4.33-4.72, wing 2.44-2.64, tail 1.93-2.13, bill .33-.39.
Female : length (skins) 4.33-4.76, wing 2.36-2.48, tail 1.87-2.01, bill .35-.37.
Distribution. Breeds in Transition and Canadian zones from Hudson
Bay to the northeastern United States, south to Pennsylvania in the
mountains ; migrates casually to base of Rocky Mountains ; winters in
Guatemala, the West Indies, and northern South America ; accidental in
Colorado and on the Farallone Islands.

Nest. In bushes, compact and deep ; made of fine grass, spider's web,
lichen, and strips of fine bark. Eggs : usually 4, buffy whitish or greenish
white, more or less heavily spotted with reddish brown.
Food. Insects.

655. Dendroica coronata (Linn.). YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.

Adult male in spring and summer. Crown patch and rump bright yellow ;
rest of upper parts bluish gray, streaked with black ; wings
, with two white bars ; tail black with gray edgings ; outer pair
of tail feathers with large spots of white ; throat white ; rest of
under parts black, yellow, and white. Adult female in spring
and summer: similar, but smaller and duller; upper parts
tinged with brown ; color patches restricted. Adult male in fall
Fig. 522. and winter : upper parts grayish brown, streaked with black


on back and scapulars ; yellow crown patch concealed by brown tips to
feathers ; throat and chest brownish white or buff y brown, chest streaked
with black ; yellow patches obscured, black patches with white edges to
feathers. Adult female in fall and winter : like winter male, but smaller,
upper parts browner, yellow crown patch restricted or obsolete ; under
parts pale buff y brown in front and on sides ; median parts of breast and
belly yellowish white ; yellow breast patches indistinct or obsolete. Young,
first plumage: streaked above and below; wings and tail much as in
adults. Male : length (skins) 4.72-5.51, wing 2.76-3.07, tail 1.97-2.36,
bill .3S-.43. Female : length (skins) 4.65-5.51, wing 2.64-2.95, tail 2.02-
2.32, bill .32-.41.

Remarks, The yellow-rumped and Audubon warblers are similar, but
can be distinguished by the throat, which is white in coronata and yellow
in auduboni.

Distribution. North America, chiefly east and north of Rocky Moun-
tains (to Hudson Bay region), straggling westward to the Pacific; breeds
from Alaska to northern United States, wintering from southern New
England and the Ohio valley south to the West Indies and Panama ;
accidental in Greenland and eastern Siberia.

Nest . Usually low in coniferous trees, made of grasses, twigs, and root-
lets, lined with finer grasses, feathers, and hair. Eggs : 3 to 6, white,
creamy, or buffy, spotted or blotched chiefly on or around larger end with
brown and lilac, sometimes mixed with small black markings.

Food. Insects, their eggs and larvae, and wild berries.

The yellow-rump, the eastern representative of the Audubon
warbler, migrates through Colorado, and Prof. Cooke says it is not
uncommon for two or three weeks on the plains along the foothills
of the Rocky Mountains, where a few range up to 9000 feet. It mi-
grates from ten days to two weeks ahead of auduboni, but in May
the two species are often found together.

656. Dendroica auduboni (Towns.). AUDUBON WARBLER.

Adult male in spring and summer. Throat, crownpatch, and rump yellow;
under parts white, yellow, and solid black ; upper parts bluish gray, streaked
with black ; wing coverts with large white
patches ; tail black, inner webs of four
or five outer feathers with large subter-
minal patch of white. Adult female in
spring and summer: like summer male,
but duller, and with less black on under
parts; upper parts usually more or less
tinged with brown; yellow crown patch
restricted, and partly tipped with brown-
ish gray ; wings with narrower bands ;
chest and sides grayish, marked with
black; color patches restricted. Adult
male in fall and winter: duller and
browner than summer male, upper parts
washed with brown, wing markings tinged *"rom Biologi^Sm-vey^U. S. Dept. of
with brown ; black of chest and sides ^ 1CU

rtfbstly concealed by brownish white edges

to feathers. Adult female in fall and winter : like winter male, but smaller
and duller, back without sharply defined streaks ; yellow patches paler and


more restricted ; black chest spots more sharply defined. Young, first
plumage : upper parts thickly streaked with dusky on brownish gray
ground ; lower rump grayish white, narrowly streaked with dusky ; under
parts grayish white, streaked. Male : length (skins) 4.80-5.39, wing 2.95-
3.19, tail 2.09-2.42, bill .39-.43. Female : length (skins) 4.80-5.08, wing
2.87-3.07, tail 2.13-2.32, bill .39-.43.

Remarks. The yellow throat distinguishes the adult Audubon warbler
from the yellow-rump, and the amount of white on the tail distinguishes
the young, auduboni having four or five feathers marked with white, coro-
nata, only two or three.

Distribution. Breeds in Canadian and Transition zones from British
Columbia south to Arizona, and from California to Sioux County, Ne-
braska ; winters from western United States to Guatemala, and eastward
to western parts of Texas and Kansas ; accidental in Massachusetts and

Nest. Usually in pines or spruces, but sometimes in deciduous trees and
bushes a few feet from the ground, made largely of strips of fine bark and
pine needles, lined with fine roots, hair, and a few feathers. Eggs : usu-
ally 4, generally olive white or greenish, sparsely spotted and dotted with
black, brown, and lilac gray.

Food. Similar to that of the yellow-rumped warbler.

The Audubon warbler in its dull, streaked winter dress is a com-
mon winter bird in the warm valleys of the west, and one of the
commonest in the San Francisco parks. Its flight and all its move-
ments seem to be regulated by gnats, its days one continuous hunt
for dinner. When insects are scarce it will fly hesitatingly through
the air looking this way and that, its yellow rump spot always
in evidence, but when it comes to an invisible gauzy-winged throng
it zigzags through, snapping them up as it goes ; then, perhaps,
closing its wings it tumbles down to a bush, catches itself, and
races pellmell after another insect that has caught its eye. In the
parks it is especially fond of the palm tops frequented by the golden-
crowned sparrows, and dashes around them in its mad helter-skelter
fashion. The most straight-laced, conventional thing it ever does is
to make flycatcher sallies from a post of observation when it has
caught its insect. If it actually sits still a moment with wings hang-
ing at its sides, its head is turning alertly, its bright eyes keen for
action, and while you look it dashes away with a nervous quip' into
midair, in hot pursuit of its prey.

. Auduboni is so preoccupied with its hunting that it pays little
heed to observers. At Stanford, in December, when the birds were
common, one has flown in from the rosebushes to the piazza rail near
me, looked around for a moment, and then ignoring my presence
flown down to the floor and gone hopping jauntily about in the
shadow of the vines looking for insects.

When spring comes these warblers are off to the mountains, for
they are true Canadian zone birds. In July we have met them near


the crest of the Sierra in full plumage and full song. There is little
to suggest the dull, streaked bird of winter in this warbler, whose
handsome yellow pointed plumage makes such a brilliant showing
against the dark green of the firs.

His song is of a strong warbler type, opening toward the end,
chwee, chwee-chwee-ah, chwee, between the song of the yellow war-
bler and that of the junco.

By the third week in July we saw the Audubons feeding a trailing
family of streaked young in the fir tops, the abstracted chase for
insects going on more strenuously than ever.

656.1. Dendroica nigrifrons Brewst. BLACK-FRONTED WARBLER.

Like auduboni, but larger and darker ; adult summer male with fore-
head, sides of crown, and cheeks mainly black instead of gray ; back black
with feathers edged with bluish gray; under parts more solidly black;
winter male with less black on upper parts, forehead only streaked with
black, bluish gray of upper parts with little if any brown, black of under
parts with only narrow whitish tips to feathers ; adult female more heavily
streaked on darker ground ; young more heavily streaked with dusky.
Male : length (skins) 5.00-5.55, wing 3.05-3.31, tail 2.28-2.53, bill .37-
.38. Female : length (skins) 5.00-5.10, wing 2.97-3.04, tail 2.26-2.35, bill

Distribution. From Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona,
south to northwestern Mexico.

6.57. Dendroica maculosa (GmeL). MAGNOLIA WARBLER.

Adult male in spring and summer. Under parts bright yellow, strikingly
marked by black necklace and black streaking down breast ; top of head
and hind neck plain gray, sides of head and back black ;
rump yellow, partly streaked with black and sometimes
partly olive green ; upper tail coverts, wings, and tail
black ; wings with conspicuous white patch and tail with
subterminal band of white. Adult male in fall and win-
ter: crown and hind neck brownish gray, back and
scapulars olive green, feathers with mostly concealed
black centers ; wing patch replaced by two narrow wing bars ; chest with-
out black streaks or spots. Adult female : duller ; back mainly olive
green; wing with two white bands; streaks on under parts narrower.
Young male in first fall and winter : chest with broad grayish or whitish
band. Young female in first fall or winter: like young male, but smaller
and much duller, crown browner, back without concealed black markings,
white of tail restricted, flanks indistinctly streaked. Male : length (skins)
4.13-4.65, wing 2.24-2.52, tail 1.86-2.04, bill .34-.49. Female: length
(skins) 4.25-4.41, wing 2.14-2.28, tail 1.81-1.91, bill .35.

Remarks. The white subterminal tail band is enough to distinguish the
magnolia warbler in any plumage.

Distribution. Breeds in Boreal zone in eastern North America, west to
the Rocky Mountains ; from Hudson Bay south to northern parts of New
England and Michigan and southward in the Alleghanies ; casually to Cali-
fornia ; winters in Cuba, the Bahamas, and south through Mexico to Pan-
ama ; accidental in Greenland.

Nest . Largely of fine twigs, grass, and weed stalks, lined with fine


black rootlets ; placed in small spruces and hemlocks, 3 to 35 feet from
the ground. Eggs: 4 or 5, creamy, blotched or spotted with lilac and
shades of brown.
Food- Insects.

The handsome magnolia warbler is a rare migrant in Colorado,
but whenever seen may be recognized as it goes about with wings
drooping and tail spread enough to show its black terminal tail band.

658. Dendroica rara (Wils.}. CERULEAN WARBLER.

Adult male. Upper parts light grayish blue, crown bordered by two
blackish stripes ; back streaked with black ; wings and tail black with gray-
ish blue edgings, wings with two clear white bands ; tail feathers broadly
spotted with white ; under parts white, with narrow bluish throat band and
bluish streaking along sides. Adult female : upper parts from light bluish
gray to grayish olive green ; superciliary stripe, if present, pale greenish
yellow like under parts ; wings and tail as in male, but edgings greenish
instead of bluish. Fall and winter adults : more highly colored. Young
male in first autumn : like female, but whiter below and more bluish above.
Young male, nestling plumage : upper parts gray, crown with median
stripe, and dark postocular stripe ; sides of head and under parts white.
Male : length (skins) 4.05-4.55, wing 2.44-2.66, tail 1.70-1.88, bill .37-.40.
Female: length (skins) 4.10-4.35, wing 2.29-2.47, tail 1.62-1.68, bill .39-

Distribution. Breeds in Upper Sonoran zone of the eastern central
United States and Canada from Tennessee and Missouri to Michigan,
western New York, and southern Ontario ; south in migration to western
Texas, southern Mexico, Central America, northern South America, and
rarely Cuba; occasionally to Rocky Mountains.

Nest. In trees in high deciduous woods, 20-50 feet or more from the
ground ; compact, cup-shaped, composed largely of plant fibers, strips of
fine bark, and spider web. Eggs : usually 3 or 4, white or dull greenish
or bluish white, speckled with brown, chiefly around the larger end.

Food. Insects.

659. Dendroica pensylvanica (Linn.). CHESTNUT-SIDED WAR-


Adult male. Crown yellow, bordered with black ; sides of head and
neck and under parts white ; sides with broad stripe of chest-
nut ; back striped with black and olive, mixed with yellowish.
Adult female : like male, but duller, upper parts greener,
black markings on head indistinct, and chestnut restricted.
Young in first autumn : upper parts bright olive green ; wing
Fig. 525. bars yellowish ; sides of head and body ash gray ; median
under parts white. Length: 4.60-5.25, wing 2.40-2.65, tail 1.95-2.10.

Distribution. Eastern United States and southern Canada, west to
Manitpba and the Plains, accidentally to Cheyenne ; south in winter to the
Bahamas, eastern Mexico, Central America, and Panama.

Nest. In small trees or undergrowth near clearings, loosely woven of
stems, grasses, and plant fibers, lined with hairs. Eggs : usually 4, white
or creamy, spotted with reddish brown and lilac, thickest around the larger

661. Dendroica striata (Forst.). BLACK-POLL WARBLER.

Adult male in spring and summer. Crown black, rest of upper parts


olive, gray, or brown, streaked with black except sometimes on rump ; wings
and tail dusky, wings with two white bands and greenish edgings ; inner
webs of two or three outer tail feathers with subterminal
white patches; under parts white, chin usually black and
sides heavily streaked with black. Adult female in spring and
summer : similar, but upper parts dull olive green, streaked
with black ; wing bars tinged with yellow ; under parts washed
with pale yellowish, sides streaked with dusky. Adult male

Online LibraryFlorence Merriam BaileyHandbook of birds of the western United States : including the Great Plains, Great Basin, Pacific Slope, and lower Rio Grande Valley → online text (page 47 of 65)