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Number of species: 72

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Blackburnian Warbler - Setophaga fusca

Blackburnian Warblers can be reliably aged and sexed throughout the year by overall plumage, combined with examination of molt limits and tail characteristics

Quick Tips:

  • Consider the throat - in spring it is fiery orange on all males, orange on ASY females, and yellowish-orange on SY females; in fall it is orange on AHY birds (both male and female), yellowish-orange on HY males, and pale yellow on HY females
  • Check the wing for a molt limit on HY/SY individuals between dull brown primary coverts and darker fresher greater coverts; AHY/ASY birds have a more uniformly dark wing
  • Consider the tail - on HY/SY birds the rectrices are typically relatively narrow and pointed, while on 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

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Male
Yellow throat sometimes with a slight orange tinge; gray supercilium and cheek; olive-grayish back with blackish streaks; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered but with moderately large white patches
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Hatch year / Female
Pale yellow throat; pale gray supercilium and cheek; olive-grayish back with dark streaks; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered and with small white patches
Thumbnail - LL4-2640-37984-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-1268.jpg Thumbnail - LL4-2640-37984-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-1269.jpg Thumbnail - LL4-2640-37984-Setophaga_fusca_AOU_7_52-1270.jpg
Second year / Male
Fiery orange throat; mostly black supercilium and cheek mixed with some brown; back blackish; primaries and secondaries contrastingly brown; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered but with moderately large white patches
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Second year / Female
Yellowish-orange throat; gray supercilium and cheek; grayish back with some dark streaks; primaries and secondaries contrastingly brown; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered, with small white patches
Thumbnail - MH3-2600-16624-Dendroica_fusca-232.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2600-16624-Dendroica_fusca-233.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2600-16624-Dendroica_fusca-234.jpg

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After second year / Male
Fiery orange throat; black supercilium and cheek; black back; rectrices broad, rounded, and with extensive white patches
Thumbnail - RJ3-290086549-Dendroica_fusca_AOU_7_56-5064.JPG Thumbnail - RJ3-290086549-Dendroica_fusca_AOU_7_56-5065.JPG Thumbnail - RJ3-290086549-Dendroica_fusca_AOU_7_56-5066.JPG

Definitive Alternate Plumage

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 / Female Orange throat; gray supercilium and cheek; grayish back with black streaks; rectrices broad, rounded, and with moderately large white patches
Juvenile / Unknown Brownish and lightly streaked above; yellowish throat; buff wing bars
After hatch year / Male Orange throat; dark gray supercilium and cheek; dark gray back with black streaking; rectrices broad, rounded, and with extensive white patches
After hatch year / Female Orange throat; gray supercilium and cheek; olive-grayish back with dark streaks; rectrices broad, rounded, and with moderately large white patches
Number of species: 72

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