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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Lucy's Warbler -- Vermivora luciae


RANGE: Breeds from southeastern California, southern Nevada, and Utah south to southern Arizona, northern Mexico, and extreme western Texas. Winters in western Mexico.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Found in southwestern deserts, generally wherever there are large mesquites, especially along main watercourses. Also occurs in mountain foothills in streamside cottonwoods and willows.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cavities for nesting.

NEST: The only cavity-nesting warbler besides the prothonotary, places nest in four types of cavities; natural cavities in trees (usually mesquite), where the entrance is in a sheltered spot; under loose bark; in abandoned woodpecker holes; and in deserted verdin nests. Generally locates nest 5 to 6 feet above the ground, but ranges from 1 to 15 feet. Occasionally nests in holes in banks, in yuccas, willows, sycamores, or elderberries.

FOOD: Forages for insects at middle heights in mesquite, seldom in the treetops or near the ground.

REFERENCES: Bent 1953a, Griscom and Sprunt 1979.


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