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Number of species: 79

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Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia

Black-and-white Warbler has a partial preformative molt and partial prealternate molts that usually include some to all tertials and occasionally one or both central rectrices. Sex and age can usually be determined reliably throughout the year.

Quick tips

  • Examine the shape of the rectrices - on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they tend to be broad and rounded while on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they average more narrow and pointed, but note that the extent of white on the rectrices does not vary enough to be helpful except in extreme cases.
  • Look at the primary coverts - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they are grayish (fall) to brownish (spring) and contrast moderately to strongly with the blackish greater coverts, but beware that even on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds the primary coverts are somewhat paler than the greater coverts.
  • Consider the overall plumage - males are entirely black and white, while females are a slightly paler dusky-black and their flanks often have a buffy tinge.
  • Look at the throat - only males have black markings, and in fall, only DCB (AHY) males have more than a trace of black in the throat.

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory (2016). Last updated by Marcel Gahbauer (Mar 2022)

The molt categories displayed below may be filtered by month.

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Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.

Individuals not in molt

FCJ - (HY: June - August)
Upperparts brownish; underparts somewhat buffy
No images available yet
FCF - (HY: June - December; SY January - April)
Rectrices somewhat narrow and pointed; primary coverts grayish and distinctly paler than greater coverts; throat whitish-buffy
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16232-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2164.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16232-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2166.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16232-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2165.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65568-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2170.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65568-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2172.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65568-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2171.jpg
FCA - (SY: January - August)
Rectrices somewhat narrow and pointed; primary coverts grayish brown and distinctly paler than greater coverts; throat white (F) or mostly black (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43176-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2146.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43176-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2148.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43176-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2147.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16023-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2149.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16023-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2151.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16023-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2150.jpg
DCB - (AHY: May - December; ASY January - April)
Rectrices usually broad and rounded; primary coverts dark gray but still contrasting with greater coverts; throat white, occasionally with trace of black on males
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24734-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2152.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24734-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2154.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24734-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2153.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65525-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2158.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65525-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2160.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65525-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2159.jpg
DCA - (ASY: January - August)
Rectrices usually broad and rounded; primary coverts gray but still contrasting distinctly with greater coverts; throat white (F) or black (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2400-71044-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2142.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2400-71044-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2140.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2400-71044-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2141.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65250-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2143.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65250-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2145.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65250-Mniotilta_varia_AOU_7_52-2144.jpg

Individuals in active molt

FPJ - (HY: June - August)
Similar to FCJ; some natal down remaining and/or juvenile flight feathers still growing in
No images available yet
FPF - (HY: June - August)
Similar to FCF; median and greater coverts being replaced
No images available yet
FPA - (HY: October - December; SY January - April)
Similar to FCF; some head feathers, tertials, and occasionally central rectrices being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: May - August)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained juvenile primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts distinctly pale brownish gray and very worn
No images available yet
DPB - (AHY: May - August)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts either distinctly adult (relatively gray, less worn) or intermediate
No images available yet
DPA - (AHY: October - December; ASY January - April)
Similar to DCB; some head feathers, tertials, and occasionally central rectrices being replaced
No images available yet

Applicable unknown plumage/age classes

Molt classes Age Months Key traits
M-FPF / UPU (FPF, SPB, DPB) U June - August Undergoing preformative or prebasic molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCF / UCU (FCF, SCB, DCB) U/AHY June - April In formative or basic plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FPA / UPA (FPA, DPA) AHY October - April Undergoing prealternate molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCA / UCA (FCA, DCA) AHY January - August In alternate plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable

Number of species: 79

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