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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Tropical Parula -- Parula pitiayumi

RANGE: Resident from southern Texas in the lower Rio Grande Valley north to near Kingsville, Texas and south locally through Central America into South America. Widespread but local in tropics; largely withdraws in winter from northern limits of range.

STATUS: Scarce; once common, the population in southern Texas has declined, probably because of loss of prefered habitat, pesticide pollution, and the greatly expanded population of bronzed cowbirds.

HABITAT: Found in dense or open woodlands; inhabits undergrowth, brush and trees along the edges of rivers, low dry woodlands, and semiarid cultivated valleys with scattered trees. Breeds from near sea level to 200 feet in elevation in southern Texas, preferring habitats with trees whose branches are draped with Spanish moss.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Air plants (epiphytes) such as Spanish moss for nesting.

NEST: Builds nest 8 to 10 feet above the ground in a hollow formed by a mass of Spanish moss or other air plants that hang in trees or bushes. Nests on relatively level land along rivers and streams, in tall brush or timber.

FOOD: Mostly eats insects. (Little is known about the diet in the United States.)

REFERENCES: Bent 1953a, Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Kaufman in Farrand 1983c, Oberholser 1974b.

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