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Number of species: 80

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Wilson's Warbler - Cardellina pusilla

Sex of Wilson's Warblers can generally be determined by overall plumage, but age can be somewhat trickier, and especially by spring there may be some intermediates that are best left as unknown

Quick Tips:

  • Examine the crown - AHY/ASY males have an extensive solid black cap, HY/SY males and AHY/ASY females have a somewhat smaller black cap with flecks of yellow (note - glossier on males) , and HY/SY females have a mottled yellow/green crown with flecks of black
  • Look at the rectrices - on HY/SY birds they are relatively narrow and pointed, and on AHY/ASY birds they are relatively broad and rounded, though the contrast is not as great as on some other warblers
  • Check for molt limits on the wing, although they can be subtle in this species - on HY/SY birds there tends to be somewhat of a greater contrast between dull/paler primary coverts and the somewhat darker and fresher greater coverts; in AHY/ASY birds the wing is more uniform in appearance
  • Examine the throat and face - on males it is golden yellow, on females it tends to be paler yellow

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Male
Partial black cap; narrow and tapered outer primary coverts and rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58533-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2795.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58533-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2793.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58533-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2794.jpg
Date: Aug 18
Hatch year / Female
Primarily yellow-green crown; narrow and tapered outer primary coverts and rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-83760-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2801.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-83760-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2799.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-83760-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2800.jpg
Date: Aug 28
After hatch year / Male
Solid black cap; broad and rounded outer primary coverts and rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2410-96778-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2810.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-96778-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2808.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-96778-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2809.jpg
Date: Sep 20
After hatch year / Female
Partial black cap; broad and rounded outer primary coverts and rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58734-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2807.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58734-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2805.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58734-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2806.jpg
Date: Aug 30
Second year / Male
Partial black cap and golden throat; wing showing molt limit between olive-green greater coverts and browner primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2630-69070-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2774.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2630-69070-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2772.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2630-69070-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2773.jpg
Date: May 26
Second year / Female
Primarily yellow-green cap and yellow throat; wing showing molt limit between olive-green greater coverts and browner primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52001-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2780.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52001-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2778.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52001-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2779.jpg
Date: May 27
After second year / Male
Large shiny black cap and golden throat; wing uniformly olive-green; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58343-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2789.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58343-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2787.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58343-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2788.jpg
Date: May 18
After second year / Female
Moderately large black cap and yellow throat; wing uniformly olive-green; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48699-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2786.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48699-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2784.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48699-Cardellina_pusilla_AOU_7_52-2785.jpg
Date: May 27

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Juvenile / Unknown Largely buff-brown with yellow lores and buff wing bars
Number of species: 80

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