Monday, October 4, 2010

Orange-crowned Warbler

On Saturday I caught a few Orange-crowned Warblers. This drab species is one of the last of the fall warbler migrants (and one of the first of the spring). I taught my ornithology students that the best field mark for this warbler is the lack field marks.  Generally they have grayish heads and white eye rings.  Faint breast streaking is the salient field mark.  Their orange crowns are seldom visible. Orange-crowned Warblers show variable brightness, with increasing yellow and less gray as you move west across North America. Orange-crowned and Tennessee Warblers might be easily confused.  DNA studies have found that, although clearly in the same genus, the two species are not otherwise closely related (Gilbert et al. 2010).

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