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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Prairie Warbler -- Dendroica discolor


RANGE: Breeds from eastern Nebraska, central Missouri, northern Illinois, central Wisconsin, northern Michigan, southern Ontario, southeastern New York and New Hampshire south to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast and southern Florida. Winters from central Florida south to the West Indies and Central America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Generally inhabits open brushy lands, often in mixed pine and scrub oak woodlands. Also inhabits southern pine forests, sand dunes, mangroves, and jack pine plains but tends to avoid dense forests. (Suitable habitats have increased on abandoned farms, unmowed orchards, strip mine lands, Christmas tree farms, and burned and grazed woodlands.)

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Low trees and shrubs; tends to favor areas with some conifers.

NEST: Sometimes nests in loose colonies. Attaches well-concealed cup nest to stems and branches of a variety of shrubs and trees, usually 2 to 3 feet above the ground.

FOOD: Gleans food from tree leaves, branches, and the ground, but also catches flying insects in the air. Eats mostly insects, but also eats some snails and worms.

REFERENCES: Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Nolan 1978.


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