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Number of species: 80

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Blackpoll Warbler - Setophaga striata

Although plumage does differ by age and sex in Blackpoll Warbler, differences tend to be subtle, and certain ageing is sometimes possible only through checking skull ossification in fall; in spring many intermediates cannot be reliably aged, and sex of some individuals can be difficult to confirm outside the breeding season.

Quick Tips:

  • In spring, examine the crown - it is solid black on ASY males, black with light mottling on SY males, olive-gray with distinct black streaks on ASY females, and olive-gray with indistinct dark streaks on SY females
  • In fall, consider the underparts - AHY males have distinct black streaks on a white background, sometimes with a yellow tinge; AHY females have moderately distinct dark streaks on a largely yellowish background; HY birds have indistinct streaking on a variably yellowish-white background
  • Look at the primary coverts - they are relatively narrow and pointed on HY/SY birds and distinctly paler than the greater coverts by spring, but on AHY/ASY birds they are relatively broad and rounded, and only moderately paler than the greater coverts
  • Examine the outer rectrices - they are somewhat paler and tend to be a bit narrower and more pointed on HY/SY birds as compared to AHY/ASY, but beware the differences are relatively subtle, and only the extremes may be helpful for 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
Crown and back olive-green with some black streaking; underparts mostly yellowish-white with limited black streaking; primary coverts dull gray and contrasting with darker greater coverts; rectrices somewhat tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24833-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2248.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24833-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2250.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24833-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2249.jpg
Date: Sep 13
Hatch year / Female
Crown and back olive-green with limited indistinct black streaking; underparts yellowish with only indistinct dusky streaking on the sides; primary coverts dull gray and contrasting with darker greater coverts; rectrices somewhat tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65741-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2251.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65741-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2253.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65741-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2252.jpg
Date: Aug 31
After hatch year / Male
Crown and back olive-gray with black streaking; underparts mostly white with some yellow and thin black streaking; primary coverts blackish and not contrasting with greater coverts; rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2440-72008-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2241.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2440-72008-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2243.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2440-72008-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2242.jpg
Date: Sep 15
After hatch year / Female
Crown and back olive-green with some black streaking; underparts mostly yellowish with only indistinct dark streaking along the sides; primary coverts blackish and not contrasting with greater coverts; rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MH3-2460-40749-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2247.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2460-40749-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-149.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2460-40749-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-150.jpg
Date: Aug 31
Second year / Male
Solid black cap; primary coverts brownish and contrasting with more blackish greater coverts; rectrices somewhat faded and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43162-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2229.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43162-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2231.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43162-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2230.jpg
Date: May 25
Second year / Female
Crown olive-green with indistinct black streaks; primary coverts brownish and contrasting with more blackish greater coverts; rectrices somewhat faded and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40285-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2235.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40285-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2237.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40285-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2236.jpg
Date: Jun 1
After second year / Male
Solid black cap; primary coverts dark and not contrasting significantly with greater coverts; dark, broad and rounded rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24771-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2216.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24771-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2218.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2490-24771-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2217.jpg
Date: May 23
After second year / Female
Crown olive-green with distinct black streaks; primary coverts dark and not contrasting significantly with greater coverts; dark, broad and rounded rectrices
Thumbnail - MH3-2490-24791-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-2222.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2490-24791-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-303.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2490-24791-Setophaga_striata_AOU_7_52-304.jpg
Date: May 24

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 Greenish-brown upperparts and grayish-white underparts, with dark spotting/streaking all over; soles of feet distinctly yellow as at all ages
Number of species: 80

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