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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Hermit Warbler -- Dendroica occidentalis

RANGE: Breeds in coniferous forests from southern British Columbia south through the coastal ranges and Sierra Nevadas to southern California. Winters in Mexico and Central America. In general, distribution coincides with tall coniferous trees.

STATUS: Uncommon and local in summer habitats.

HABITAT: Uses very tall conifers, including Douglas-fir and cedar. Prefers scattered groups of tall trees (sometimes 200 or more feet tall) that tower above the rest of the forest. Generally found in the upper canopies of tall trees, and though very active, are often difficult to identify.


NEST: Builds a well-concealed nest, generally supported by needles on the scraggly limbs of conifers, often up to 40 or 50 feet above the ground. Generally forage on the upper portions of trees, while nests are built in the mid-canopy of some of the tall trees.

FOOD: Feeds on a variety of insects found in the upper level of coniferous trees, gleaning them from needles and twigs, or hawking flying insects.

REFERENCES: Bent 1953a, Griscom and Sprunt 1979.

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