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The Magnolia Warbler is a handsome and familiar warbler of the northern forests. Though it often forages conspicuously and close to the ground, we have relatively scant information on its nesting behavior. Adult Description •Small songbird. •Yellow chest and throat. •Black necklace and black stripes down sides. •White wingbars or large white patch on wings. •Gray crown. •Yellow rump. •Large white patch in black-tipped tail. Male Description Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Black mask, white eyebrow stripe. Conspicuous black band across the upper breast, with heavy black streaks on the sides, wide white wing-panels, and a black back. Rump yellow. Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Duller with reduced streaking, two white wingbars, and greenish back. Lacks black face mask; face gray with white eyering. Female Description Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Gray face, white eyebrow stripe, modest black streaks on the sides, and thin white wingbars. Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: similar to nonbreeding male, with an olive-tinged crown and less streaking. Immature Description Similar to nonbreeding adult, but without black streaking on chest. Olive-gray crown and upperparts. Throat, breast and belly yellow, with pale gray band across upper chest. Narrow white wingbars.
Breeds in small conifers, especially young spruces, in purely coniferous stands or mixed forest.
Cool Facts •Though it has very specific habitat preferences in the breeding season, the Magnolia Warbler occupies a very broad range of habitats in winter: from sea level to 1,500 meters elevation, and most landscape types, except cleared fields. •The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time. •The male Magnolia Warbler has two songs. The first song, issued in courtship and around the nest, consists of three short phrases with an accented ending. The second song, possibly issued in territory defense against other males, is similar to the first but is sweeter and less accented.