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Number of species: 72

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Northern Parula - Setophaga americana

Age and sex of Northern Parulas can usually be determined from overall plumage, although presence or absence of molt limits can be helpful in distinguishing HY/SY males from AHY/ASY females

Quick Tips:

  • Check the primary coverts - on HY/SY birds they are paler than greater coverts with little or no edging, while on AHY/ASY birds they are uniform with the greater coverts and have distinct blue edging
  • Look at the tail - on HY/SY birds the rectrices are fairly narrow and pointed, and on AHY/ASY birds they are relatively broad and rounded at the tip
  • Look at the overall plumage - within each age class males tend to be more bluish overall and have larger white patches on the rectrices, while females are more greenish and have smaller white patches on the rectrices

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
Dull and relatively faded primary coverts; bluish to greenish-blue wash to the head and back; rectrices somewhat narrow and pointed with small to moderate white patches; narrow to indistinct chestnut breast band
Thumbnail - MG2-2670-68043-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2624.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2670-68043-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2622.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2670-68043-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2623.jpg
Hatch year / Female
Dull and relatively faded primary coverts; greenish wash to the head and back; rectrices somewhat narrow and pointed with generally small white patches; lacking chestnut on the breast
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58741-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2621.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58741-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2619.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58741-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2620.jpg
After hatch year / Male
Bluish edging to primary coverts; strong bluish wash to the head and back; broad and rounded rectrices with relatively extensive white patches; relatively broad chestnut breast band
Thumbnail - MG2-2670-68057-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2633.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2670-68057-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2631.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2670-68057-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2632.jpg
After hatch year / Female
Bluish edging to primary coverts; greenish-blue wash to the head and back; broad and rounded rectrices with moderate white patches; chestnut breast band indistinct to absent
Thumbnail - MG2-2410-96852-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2627.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-96852-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2625.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-96852-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2626.jpg
Second year / Male
Dull and relatively faded primary coverts; bluish to greenish-blue wash to the head and back; rectrices somewhat narrow and pointed with small to moderate white patches; narrow chestnut breast band
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48048-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2615.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48048-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2613.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48048-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2614.jpg
Second year / Female
Dull and relatively faded primary coverts; greenish wash to the head and back; rectrices somewhat narrow and pointed with small white patches; usually lacking chestnut on the breast
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81628-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2612.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81628-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2610.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81628-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2611.jpg
After second year / Female
Bluish edging to primary coverts; greenish-blue wash to the head and back; broad and rounded rectrices with moderate white patches; chestnut breast band indistinct or absent
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48672-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2618.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48672-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2616.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48672-Setophaga_americana_AOU_7_52-2617.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
After second year / Male Bluish edging to primary coverts; strong bluish wash to the head and back; broad and rounded rectrices with relatively extensive white patches; broad chestnut breast band
Juvenile / Unknown Greenish-gray upperparts, with a grayish breast and whitish belly; thin pale supercilium and contrastingly dark gray eye line; thin wing bars
Number of species: 72

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