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Number of species: 80

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Black-throated Green Warbler - Setophaga virens

Black-throated Green Warblers can generally be aged and sexed by plumage, especially when the wings and tail can be examined well

Quick Tips:

  • Consider the chin, throat and upper breast - on AHY/ASY males they are solid black (somewhat mottled in fall), on SY males they are black but mottled, on ASY females and HY males the chin is yellowish white, with the throat and upper breast mottled black; and on AHY females and HY/SY females the chin, throat, and upper breast are yellowish-white, with little to no black
  • Examine the wing for a molt limit on HY/SY individuals between paler gray to (in spring) brownish primary coverts with no edging and darker gray greater coverts; AHY/ASY birds have a more uniformly dark wing
  • Check the shape of the outer rectrices - on HY/SY birds they are fairly pointed and often abraded, while on AHY/ASY birds they are broader, fairly rounded, and more likely to remain fresh

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
Chin yellowish-white with light black mottling; throat and upper breast mottled black; dark spots on back faint to absent; primary coverts distinctly paler than greater coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52195-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2299.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52195-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2301.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52195-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2300.jpg

Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52135-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2302.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52135-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2304.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52135-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2303.jpg
After hatch year / Female
Chin yellowish-white, throat and upper breast with light to absent black mottling; back solid green; primary coverts only slightly paler than greater coverts; rectices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2110-11428-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2293.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2110-11428-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2295.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2110-11428-Setophaga_virens_AOU_7_52-2294.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Second year / Male Chin, throat, and upper breast mostly black but with some mottling; faint dark spots on back; primary coverts distinctly paler than greater coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered
After second year / Male Chin, throat, and upper breast solid black; faint dark spots on back; primary coverts only slightly paler than greater coverts; rectrices broad and rounded
Hatch year / Female Chin yellowish-white, throat and upper breast whitish, with faint dark streaks along flanks; back solid green; primary coverts distinclty paler than greater coverts; rectices narrow and tapered
After second year / Female Chin yellowish-white, sometimes with black mottling; throat and upper breast mottled black; back solid green; primary coverts only slightly paler than greater coverts; rectices broad and rounded
Juvenile / Unknown Greenish-brown above and buff below, with some yellow in the face and distinct white wing bars
Second year / Female Chin, throat, and upper breast mostly yellowish-white, sometimes with light black mottling; back solid green; primary coverts distinctly paler than greater coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered
After hatch year / Male Chin, throat, and upper breast black but lightly mottled; faint dark spots on back; primary coverts only slightly paler than greater coverts; rectrices broad and rounded
Number of species: 80

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