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Number of species: 80

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Chestnut-sided Warbler - Setophaga pensylvanica

While older male Chestnut-sided Warblers are usually readily identifiable, other age/sex classes tend to overlap more in appearance, and multiple characteristics should be assessed; for some intermediate individuals, age and especially sex may not be reliably determined

Quick Tips:

  • Check the wing for a molt limit on HY/SY individuals between brownish-gray primary coverts with little or no edging and darker, fresher greater coverts; AHY/ASY birds have a more uniformly dark wing
  • Look at the tail - outer rectrices are relatively narrow and tapered to a point on HY/SY birds, but broad and rounded on AHY/ASY birds
  • Examine the flanks - in fall, AHY males have distinct and extensive chestnut markings, while AHY females and some HY males have limited chestnut; in spring the chestnut is relatively narrow and limited on females, but broader and more longer on males
  • In spring, look at the lores and moustache - on males they are black, while on females they are largely grayish

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 
Juvenile / Unknown
Olive-brown above and whitish below, with buff wing bars
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-59603-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2426.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-59603-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2424.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-59603-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2425.jpg
Date: Aug 22
Hatch year / Male
Yellow-green crown; limited chestnut on the sides; indistinct dark streaks on back; dull primary coverts contrasting with darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92951-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2423.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92951-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2421.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92951-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2422.jpg
Date: Sep 1
Hatch year / Female
Greenish crown; chestnut on sides usually absent; minimal streaking on the back; dull primary coverts contrasting with darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92346-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2420.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92346-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2418.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92346-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2419.jpg
Date: Aug 22
After hatch year / Male
Bold yellow-green crown; distinct chestnut markings from malar down to near legs; distinct blackish streaks on the back; blackish primary coverts not contrasting with greater coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48195-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2409.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48195-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2407.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48195-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2408.jpg
Date: Sep 11
After hatch year / Female
Yellow-green crown; limited chestnut on the sides; indistinct dark streaks on back; blackish primary coverts not contrasting with greater coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92342-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2415.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92342-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2413.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2410-92342-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2414.jpg
Date: Aug 22
Second year / Male
Yellow crown; blackish lores and moustache; broad and extensive chestnut side markings extending to near or beyond the legs; brownish primary coverts contrasting with the darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48683-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2921.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48683-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2919.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2520-48683-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2920.jpg
Date: May 21
Second year / Female
Greenish crown; grayish lores; and moustache; limited chestnut markings; brownish primary coverts contrasting with the darker greater coverts; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2530-54739-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2429.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-54739-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2427.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2530-54739-Setophaga_pensylvanica_AOU_7_52-2428.jpg
Date: May 20

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 / Male Yellow crown; solid black lores and moustache; broad and extensive chestnut side markings extending past the legs; blackish primary coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
After second year / Female Greenish-yellow crown; dark gray lores and moustache; moderate chestnut markings usually not extending as far as the legs; blackish primary coverts; broad and rounded rectrices
Number of species: 80

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