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Number of species: 79

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Golden-winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera

Golden-winged Warbler has a partial preformative molt; prealternate molts are generally absent or at most limited to some head and body feathers. Both age and sex can usually be easily determined by plumage throughout the year.

Golden-winged Warbler frequently hybridizes with Blue-winged Warbler; the appearance of hybrids can be somewhat variable, but the general principles of ageing and sexing can usually be applied.

Quick tips

  • Examine the primary coverts - on DCB/DCU (AHY/ASY) individuals they are dark gray with pale edging, while on FCF/FCU (HY/SY) birds they are brownish and without edging.
  • Look at the throat and cheeks - on DCB/DCU (AHY/ASY) males both are solid black, on FCF/FCU (HY/SY) males they are blackish to black, on DCB/DCU (AHY/ASY) females they are gray but distinct, and on FCF/FCU (HY/SY) females they are pale gray and sometimes the throat patch is indistinct.
  • Consider the crown - on DCB/DCU (AHY/ASY) males it is bright yellow, on FCF/FCU (HY/SY) males it is yellow, on DCB/DCU (AHY/ASY) females it is greenish-yellow, and on FCF/FCU (HY/SY) females it is largely greenish.
  • Examine the rectrices - on FCF/FCU (HY/SY) birds they are relatively narrow and tapered to a point with relatively small white patches on the outer feathers, while on DCB/DCU (AHY/ASY) birds they are more broad and rounded toward the tip, with larger white patches.

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 tinged brownish; greenish olive wing bars; underparts with a dull yellowish wash
No images available yet
FCF - (HY: June - December; SY January - April)
Primary coverts brownish gray; rectrices narrow and pointed; crown greenish yellow (F) to yellow (M); cheeks pale gray (F) to blackish (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48187-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2441.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48187-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2439.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48187-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2440.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52047-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2438.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52047-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2436.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52047-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2437.jpg
FCU - (SY: January - August)
Primary coverts brownish gray; rectrices narrow and pointed; crown greenish yellow (F) to yellow (M); cheeks pale gray (F) to blackish or black (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48809-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2444.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48809-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2442.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48809-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2443.jpg
DCB - (AHY: June - December; ASY January - April)
Primary coverts gray with pale edging; rectrices somewhat broad and rounded; crown greenish yellow to yellow (F) or bright yellow (M); cheeks gray (F) to black (M)
No images available yet
DCU - (ASY: January - August)
Primary coverts gray with pale edging; rectrices somewhat broad and rounded; crown greenish yellow to yellow (F) or bright yellow (M); cheeks gray (F) to black (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48806-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2924.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48806-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2922.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48806-Vermivora_chrysoptera_AOU_7_52-2923.jpg

Individuals in active molt

FPJ - (HY: June - July)
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 and sometimes the greater alula being replaced
No images available yet
FPA - (SY: January - April)
Similar to FCF; some head and body feathers being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: June - August)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained juvenile primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts distinctly pale brown and very worn
No images available yet
DPB - (AHY: June - 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 - (ASY: January - April)
Similar to DCB; some head and body feathers 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 January - April Undergoing prealternate molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCU / UCU (FCU, DCU) AHY January - August In formative, basic, or alternate plumage (molt completed), but cycle and plumage are not reliably distinguishable

Number of species: 79

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