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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

Prothonotary Warbler -- Protonotaria citrea

RANGE: Breeds from east-central and southeastern Minnesota, south-central Wisconsin, southern Michigan, southern Ontario, central New York and northern New Jersey south to south-central and eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast and central Florida, and west to eastern Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, and central Oklahoma. Winters rarely in Florida and extreme south; otherwise, migrates to eastern Central America and South America.

STATUS: Uncommon.

HABITAT: Generally associated with moist, bottomland, or swampy deciduous woods, including woods that are frequently flooded and willow-lined streamsides.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Moist woodlands with cavities for nesting.

NEST: Nests in natural cavities and old cavities of woodpeckers (especially downy woodpeckers) and chickadees in stumps or snags that are standing in or near water. Will occasionally nest in nest boxes. Usually places nest low, about 5 feet above the ground.

FOOD: Primarily eats insects gleaned from tree trunks and branches, shrubs, and fallen logs.

REFERENCES: Bent 1953a, Forbush and May 1955, Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Pearson 1936, Walkinshaw 1953.

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