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Number of species: 80

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Mourning Warbler - Geothlypis philadelphia

While overall plumage is sometimes sufficient to reliably age and sex Mourning Warblers, some individuals can be tricky, and it is advisable to consider multiple criteria if possible, including skull ossification in fall, and cloacal protuberance / brood patch during the breeding season

Quick Tips:

  • Check for an eye ring - AHY/ASY males, SY males in spring, and some AHY/ASY females lack an eye ring, other AHY/ASY females and SY females in spring have a grayish-white eye ring, and HY birds of both sexes have a yellowish-white eye ring
  • Look at the throat and upper breast - it is gray with little to extensive black on AHY/ASY males and SY males (black more extensive on ASY than SY), gray with the throat particularly pale or even white on AHY/ASY females, yellowish-gray on HY birds of both sexes, and largely buffy yellow on SY females
  • 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
  • Check the wing for a molt limit on HY/SY individuals between brownish primary and greenish greater coverts; AHY/ASY birds have a more uniformly olive-green wing, but note that even when present, the molt limit can be subtle, especially in fall

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
Grayish-olive head; throat and upper breast grayish-yellow, sometimes with a few dark spots forming an indistinct necklace; partial eye ring buff-white; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2440-40810-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2513.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2440-40810-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2511.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2440-40810-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2512.jpg
Date: Sep 4
Hatch year / Female
Olive-brown head; throat and upper breast buffy yellow, lacking gray or black; partial to complete buffy eye ring; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24773-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2516.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24773-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2514.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24773-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2515.jpg
Date: Aug 30
After hatch year / Male
Dark gray head; moderate black breast patch; no eye ring; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24888-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2522.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24888-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2520.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24888-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2521.jpg
Date: Aug 16
After hatch year / Female
Pale gray head; incomplete and faint whitish eye ring (absent on some); throat and upper breast white to gray, lacking black; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2440-40868-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2524.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2440-40868-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2523.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2440-40868-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2525.jpg
Date: Sep 9
Second year / Male
Gray head and throat; lores gray to blackish; moderately extensive black breast patch; no eye ring; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24767-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2504.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24767-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2502.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24767-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2503.jpg
Date: May 23
Second year / Female
Grayish-brown head and throat; incomplete but distinct whitish eye ring; no black on breast; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65398-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2498.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65398-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2926.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65398-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2496.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65398-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2497.jpg
Date: May 30
After second year / Male
Dark gray head; lores darker gray to blackish; extensive black breast patch; no eye ring; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43167-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2510.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43167-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2508.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43167-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2509.jpg
Date: May 25
After second year / Female
Pale gray head; throat lighter gray to white; incomplete and faint whitish eye ring (absent on some); no black on breast; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16545-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2507.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16545-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2505.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16545-Geothlypis_philadelphia_AOU_7_52-2506.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
Juvenile / Unknown Overall olive-brown, somewhat darker above and more buffy below; no wing bars, but an indistinct buffy eye ring
Number of species: 80

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