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Number of species: 71

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Blackburnian Warbler - Setophaga fusca

Blackburnian Warbler has a partial preformative molt and partial prealternate molts that include most to all greater coverts, and sometimes up to two tertials. Age and sex can generally be differentiated reliably by plumage.

Quick tips

  • Consider the throat - in alternate plumage it is fiery orange on all males, orange on DCA (ASY) females, and yellowish-orange on FCA (SY) females; on DCB (AHY) birds of both sexes it is orange, and on FCF (HY) birds it ranges from yellowish-orange on males to pale yellow on females.
  • Examine the wing - FCF/FCA (HY/SY) individuals have dull brown primary coverts contrasting distinctly with darker fresher greater coverts; DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds have a more uniformly dark wing.
  • Consider the tail - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds the rectrices are typically relatively narrow and pointed, while on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they tend to be broader and more rounded; males generally have much larger white spots on the rectrices than females of the same age class.

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)
Brownish above; pale below, with little to no orange in the face; buffy wing bars
No images available yet
FCF - (HY: June - December; SY January - April)
Primary coverts brownish, contrasting with dark gray (F) to blackish (M) greater coverts; rectrices usually narrow and somewhat pointed, with white spots typically limited to two (F) or three (M) outer feathers; throat dull yellow (F) to yellowish-orange (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16353-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2206.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16353-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2205.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16353-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2204.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65678-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2210.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65678-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2212.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65678-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2211.jpg
FCA - (SY: January - August)
Primary coverts brown, contrasting markedly with dark gray (F) to black (M) greater coverts; rectrices usually narrow and somewhat pointed, with white spots typically limited to two (F) or three (M) outer feathers; throat yellowish with limited orange (F) or fiery orange (M)
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16624-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2198.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16624-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2200.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16624-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2199.jpg
DCB - (AHY: June - December; ASY January - April)
Primary coverts dark gray, contrasting lightly with blackish (F) to black (M) greater coverts; rectrices usually broad and rounded, with white spots typically on three (F) or at least four (M) outer feathers; throat dull orange, on average somewhat brighter on males
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2510-81323-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2201.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2510-81323-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2203.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2510-81323-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-2202.jpg
DCA - (ASY: January - August)
Primary coverts dark gray, contrasting lightly with blackish (F) to black (M) greater coverts; rectrices usually broad and rounded, with white spots typically on three (F) or at least four (M) outer feathers; throat orange (F) to fiery orange (M)
No images available yet

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 - September)
Similar to FCF; median and greater coverts and sometimes the greater alula being replaced
No images available yet
FPA - (SY: October - May)
Similar to FCA; head and body feathers, lesser and median coverts, some to all greater coverts, and sometimes one or two tertials being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: June - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained juvenile primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts distinctly pale brownish and very worn
No images available yet
DPB - (AHY: June - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts either distinctly adult (generally grayish, less worn) or intermediate
No images available yet
DPA - (ASY: October - May)
Similar to DCA; head and body feathers, lesser and median coverts, some to all greater coverts, and sometimes one or two tertials 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 - September 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 - May 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