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Number of species: 72

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Canada Warbler - Cardellina canadensis

Although overall plumage of Canada Warblers varies by age and sex, there is a fair amount of overlap among age/sex classes, an some distinctions are subtle, especially by spring, and therefore some intermediates are best left as unknown

Quick Tips:

  • Look for molt limits on the wing - on AHY/ASY birds the wing is uniformly gray, while on HY/SY birds there is often a visible contrast between the gray greater coverts and brownish-gray primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries.
  • Examine the forehead - it is moderately to extensively black on all AHY/ASY males and SY males, and has black flecks on some ASY females and HY males, but is greenish-gray and lacking black on other ASY females and HY males and all HY/SY females
  • Consider the rectrices - on HY/SY birds they are relatively narrow and pointed, while on AHY/ASY birds they are relatively broad and rounded; note though that there is a fair amount of variation, therefore only extremes may be useful in helping with ageing

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
Forehead grayish-green with a few black flecks; back bluish; distinct but narrow dark necklace; molt limit on wing between blue-gray greater coverts and brownish-gray primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16288-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2332.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16288-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2334.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16288-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2333.jpg
Date: Aug 14
Hatch year / Female
Forehead grayish-green, lacking black; back grayish-green; indistinct olive necklace; molt limit on wing between blue-gray greater coverts and brownish-gray primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-1840-76968-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2338.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1840-76968-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2340.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1840-76968-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2339.jpg
Date: Aug 15
After hatch year / Male
Forehead bluish with large black flecks; back bluish; distinct and wide black necklace; wing uniformly blue-gray; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-1840-76984-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2326.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1840-76984-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2328.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1840-76984-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2327.jpg
Date: Aug 17
After hatch year / Female
Forehead gray, with few to no black flecks; back bluish with green tinges; necklace dusky but relatively distinct; wing uniformly blue-gray; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16327-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2329.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16327-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2331.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16327-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2330.jpg
Date: Aug 18
Second year / Male
Forehead grayish-green with large black flecks; back bluish; distinct but narrow black necklace; molt limit on wing between blue-gray greater coverts and brownish-gray primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MH3-2500-65385-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-332.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2500-65385-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-333.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2500-65385-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-334.jpg
Date: May 27
Second year / Female
Forehead grayish-green, lacking black; back grayish-green; indistinct olive necklace; molt limit on wing between blue-gray greater coverts and brownish-gray primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43180-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2323.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43180-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2325.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43180-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2324.jpg
Date: May 25
After second year / Male
Forehead bluish with large black flecks; back bluish; distinct and wide black necklace; wing uniformly blue-gray; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24749-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2314.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24749-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2316.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24749-Cardellina_canadensis_AOU_7_52-2315.jpg
Date: May 21

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 Forehead gray, with few to no black flecks; back bluish with green tinges; necklace dusky but relatively distinct; wing uniformly blue-gray; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Juvenile / Unknown Largely brownish, with buffy wing bars.
Number of species: 72

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