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Number of species: 82

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Magnolia Warbler - Setophaga magnolia

Magnolia Warbler has a partial preformative molt, and partial prealternate molts that include some to all greater coverts, and occasionally one inner tertial. Sex can usually be distinguished by plumage from first cycle alternate (second year) onward, but in younger birds many intermediates should be considered sex unknown.

Quick tips

  • Look at the primary coverts - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they are grayish (fall) to brownish (spring) and contrast visibly with the black greater coverts, while on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they are blackish and similar in colour and wear with the greater coverts.
  • Check the tail - HY/SY birds have relatively narrow and somewhat tapered rectrices, while DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds have broad and fairly rounded rectrices; also, males tend to have blackish to black tail feathers, while on females they are more dusky gray.
  • Examine r2 (the second rectrix from the centre) - on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) males the white spot is similar in size to that on other rectrices, on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) females and most FCF/FCA (HY/SY) males the white spot is slightly to moderately smaller than on other rectrices, and on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) females the white spot may be absent or considerably smaller than on other rectrices, but note that intermediate spot size in first cycle birds are fairly common.
  • Look at the uppertail coverts - they are mostly black with bluish edging on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) males, with distinct black centres and greenish and/or bluish edging on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) females and FCF/FCA (HY/SY) males, and generally with only small dark centres and mostly greenish edging on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) females.
  • In alternate plumage look at the face - males have a black mask, while on females the head is more uniformly gray.

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory (2016). Last updated by Marcel Gahbauer (Mar 2022)

The molt categories displayed below may be filtered by month.

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Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.

Individuals not in molt

FCJ - (HY: June - August)
Brownish above and buffy below, without streaking; buffy wing bars
No images available yet
FCF - (HY: June - December; SY January - April)
Primary coverts grayish, contrasting with blackish greater coverts; rectrices generally narrow and pointed with small (F) to moderately large (M) white spots; uppertail coverts with small dark centres and greenish edging (F) or distinct black centres with greenish to bluish edging (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52442-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2468.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52442-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2466.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52442-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2467.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52284-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2462.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52284-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2460.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-52284-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2461.jpg
FCA - (SY: February - September)
Primary coverts brownish, contrasting with blackish greater coverts; rectrices generally narrow and pointed with small (F) to moderately large (M) white spots; uppertail coverts with small dark centres and greenish edging (F) or distinct black centres with greenish to bluish edging (M); cheeks gray (F) or black (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81513-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2483.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81513-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2481.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81513-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2482.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81512-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2492.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81512-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2490.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-81512-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2491.jpg
DCB - (AHY: June - December; ASY January - April)
Primary coverts dark gray, only moderately lighter than greater coverts; rectrices generally broad and rounded with moderate (F) to large (M) white spots; uppertail coverts with black centres and greenish (F) or uniformly bluish (M) edging
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-54886-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2447.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-54886-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2445.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-54886-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2446.jpg
DCA - (ASY: February - September)
Primary coverts grayish, contrasting moderately blackish greater coverts; rectrices generally broad and rounded with moderate (F) to large (M) white spots; uppertail coverts with black centres and greenish (F) or uniformly bluish (M) edging; cheeks gray (F) or black (M)
M
Thumbnail - MH3-2110-11392-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-400.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2110-11392-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-401.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2110-11392-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-402.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2410-27942-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2480.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-27942-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2478.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-27942-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2479.jpg

Individuals in active molt

FPJ - (HY: June - August)
Similar to FCJ; some natal down remaining and/or juvenile flight feathers still growing in
No images available yet
FPF - (HY: June - August)
Similar to FCF; median and greater coverts and sometimes the greater alula being replaced
No images available yet
FPA - (SY: January - May)
Similar to FCA; head and body feathers, some to most greater coverts, and sometimes also one or two tertials being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: June - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained juvenile primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts distinctly pale brownish and very worn
No images available yet
DPB - (AHY: June - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts either distinctly adult (generally gray, less worn) or intermediate
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2630-68473-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2456.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2630-68473-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2454.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2630-68473-Setophaga_magnolia_AOU_7_52-2455.jpg
DPA - (ASY: January - May)
Similar to DCA; head and body feathers, some to all greater coverts, and sometimes also one or two tertials being replaced
No images available yet

Applicable unknown plumage/age classes

Molt classes Age Months Key traits
M-FPF / UPU (FPF, SPB, DPB) U June - August Undergoing preformative or prebasic molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCF / UCU (FCF, SCB, DCB) U/AHY June - April In formative or basic plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FPA / UPA (FPA, DPA) AHY January - May Undergoing prealternate molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCA / UCA (FCA, DCA) AHY February - September In alternate plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable

Number of species: 82

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