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Number of species: 72

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Chestnut-sided Warbler - Setophaga pensylvanica

While older male Chestnut-sided Warblers are usually readily identifiable, other age/sex classes tend to overlap more in appearance, and multiple characteristics should be assessed; for some intermediate individuals, age and especially sex may not be reliably determined

Quick Tips:

  • Check the wing for a molt limit on HY/SY individuals between brownish-gray primary coverts with little or no edging and darker, fresher greater coverts; AHY/ASY birds have a more uniformly dark wing
  • Look at the tail - outer rectrices are relatively narrow and tapered to a point on HY/SY birds, but broad and rounded on AHY/ASY birds
  • Examine the flanks - in fall, AHY males have distinct and extensive chestnut markings, while AHY females and some HY males have limited chestnut; in spring the chestnut is relatively narrow and limited on females, but broader and more longer on males
  • In spring, look at the lores and moustache - on males they are black, while on females they are largely grayish

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 
After hatch year / Male
Bold yellow-green crown; distinct chestnut markings from malar down to near legs; distinct blackish streaks on the back; blackish primary coverts not contrasting with greater coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58516-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2412.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58516-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2410.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58516-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2411.jpg
After hatch year / Female
Yellow-green crown; limited chestnut on the sides; indistinct dark streaks on back; blackish primary coverts not contrasting with greater coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52132-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2925.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52132-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2416.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52132-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2417.jpg
Second year / Male
Yellow crown; blackish lores and moustache; broad and extensive chestnut side markings extending to near or beyond the legs; brownish primary coverts contrasting with the darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48025-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2435.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48025-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2433.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48025-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2434.jpg
Second year / Female
Greenish crown; grayish lores; and moustache; limited chestnut markings; brownish primary coverts contrasting with the darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48049-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2432.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48049-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2430.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48049-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2431.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 Yellow crown; solid black lores and moustache; broad and extensive chestnut side markings extending past the legs; blackish primary coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Hatch year / Female Greenish crown; chestnut on sides usually absent; minimal streaking on the back; dull primary coverts contrasting with darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
After second year / Female Greenish-yellow crown; dark gray lores and moustache; moderate chestnut markings usually not extending as far as the legs; blackish primary coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Juvenile / Unknown Olive-brown above and whitish below, with buff wing bars
Hatch year / Male Yellow-green crown; limited chestnut on the sides; indistinct dark streaks on back; dull primary coverts contrasting with darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Number of species: 72

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