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Number of species: 72

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Orange-crowned Warbler - Oreothlypis celata

Plumage differences by age and sex are quite subtle in Orange-crowned Warbler; multiple criteria should be in agreement for confident determination of age and sex and some intermediates are better left as unknown; skulling to confirm age in fall is particularly important

Especially in areas where two or more of the four recognized subspecies overlap during migration, ageing and sexing can be complicated by plumage differences related to race

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the tail - on HY/SY birds the rectrices tend to be fairly narrow and pointed, and on AHY/ASY birds they are relatively broad and rounded at the tip - but note that some individuals are intermediate in appearance and should be aged only in combination with other characteristics
  • Examine the concealed crown patch - it may be minimal or absent on HY/SY birds (but beware that on some HY/SY males it can be quite large), while on AHY/ASY birds it is always at least moderately large (9 mm or greater in length).
  • Look at the primary coverts - on HY/SY birds they tend to be narrow with little or no edging and generally somewhat duller or paler than the greater coverts; on AHY/ASY birds they are relatively broad and may have olive edging and are uniform in appearance with the greater coverts - but as with the rectrices, there is considerable variability in shape and colour and intermediates are common in which the primary coverts are not a distinct indicator of age
  • Consider wing chord to verify sex, as short or long extremes can be useful (measurements cited from Pyle 1997): V.c. celata:  female only (54-56 mm), overlap (57-62 mm), male only (63-65 mm) V.c. lutescens:  female only (51-54 mm), overlap (55-59 mm), male only (60-62 mm) V.c. orestera:  female only (55-57 mm), overlap (58-64 mm), male only (65-66 mm) V.c. sordida:  female only (54-56 mm), overlap (57-60 mm), male only (61-63 mm)

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
Molit limit between greenish greater coverts and brownish primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices and primary coverts, moderately large orange crown patch.
Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51990-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1732.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51990-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1733.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51990-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1734.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51990-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1735.jpg
Hatch year / Female
Molit limit between greenish greater coverts and brownish primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices and primary coverts, orange crown patch minimal to absent.
Thumbnail - MH3-2510-81256-Vermivora_celata-434.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2510-81256-Vermivora_celata-435.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2510-81256-Vermivora_celata-436.jpg
Hatch year / Unknown
Thumbnail - MG-2620-51181-Vermivora_celata-605.jpg Thumbnail - MG-2620-51181-Vermivora_celata-606.jpg

Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51748-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1624.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51748-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1621.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51748-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1622.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51748-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1623.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2680-51748-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-1625.jpg
After hatch year / Male
Wing uniformly greenish; broad and rounded rectrices and primary coverts, extensive orange crown patch
Thumbnail - MH3-2510-81238-Vermivora_celata-205.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2510-81238-Vermivora_celata-206.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2510-81238-Vermivora_celata-207.jpg
After hatch year / Female
Wing uniformly greenish; broad and rounded rectrices and primary coverts, moderately extensive orange crown patch, but can be entirely concealed
Thumbnail - MH3-NA_246-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-664.jpg
After hatch year / Unknown
Thumbnail - MG-2620-51034-Vermivora_celata-604.jpg
After second year / Male
Wing uniformly greenish; broad and rounded rectrices and primary coverts, extensive orange crown patch
Thumbnail - DT4-NA_1645-Oreothlypis_celata_AOU_7_52-4470.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Second year / Male Molit limit between greenish greater coverts and brownish primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices and primary coverts, moderately large orange crown patch.
After second year / Female Wing uniformly greenish; broad and rounded rectrices and primary coverts, moderately extensive orange crown patch, but can be entirely concealed
Juvenile / Unknown Brownish-green upperparts; buffy breast; buffy-yellow wing bars
Second year / Female Molit limit between greenish greater coverts and brownish primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices and primary coverts, orange crown patch minimal to absent.
Number of species: 72

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