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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Golden-winged Warbler -- Vermivora chrysoptera


RANGE: Breeds from southern Manitoba, central Minnesota, and northern Wisconsin east to southern Vermont and eastern Massachusetts, and south to southeastern Iowa, southern Ohio, and southern Connecticut, and in the Appalachian Mountains south to northern Georgia. Breeding range in the Northeast and Appalachians has been decreasing in recent years, partly as a result of displacement by blue-winged warblers. Winters in Central and South America.

STATUS: Locally common.

HABITAT: Inhabits openings in deciduous forests or forest edges where there is a dense understory of fortes, grasses, or ferns. Also commonly inhabits damp fields heavily vegetated with thick grass, overgrown pastures, dense scrubby thickets, second-growth woods, and brush-bordered lowland areas. Generally occupies higher and drier areas than the blue-winged warbler, although there is a broad overlap in habitats.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Brushy edge habitats or openings in cover with saplings, forbs, and grasses.

NEST: Nests in loose aggregations or colonies on or close to the ground. Usually locates nest within the shade of a forest edge, supported by weed stalks such as goldenrod, or by tufts of grass, or on a substrate of dead leaves.

FOOD: Gleans insects and spiders chickadeelike, from the ground to tree tops.

REFERENCES: Confer and Knapp 1981, DeGraff et al. 1980, Eyer 1963, Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Johnsgard 1979, Parkes in Farrand 1983c, Tate and Tate 1982.


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