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New World Warblers: Parulidae

Black-and-white Warbler (mniotilta Varia): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: An appropriately named bird, this warbler has black and white stripes over much of its body. A male has a black patch on his throat, and a female has a grayish white patch on hers. Size ranges from about 4.5 to 5.5 inches (11.4 to 14 centimeters), and the bird weighs 0.3 to 0.5 ounces (9 to 15 grams).

Geographic range: The black-and-white warbler spends the warmer months in Canada and the eastern half of the United States, then migrates for the winter months to southern U.S., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, and northeastern South America.

Habitat: They tend to live in areas with numerous large trees, as well as a tall, thick understory. The trees provide a place for finding food, and the thickets provide a place to hide.

Diet: These birds eat caterpillars, flies, beetles, and other insects; and spiders.

Behavior and reproduction: It spends much of its time creeping up tree trunks in search of small insects and other creatures in the little openings and cracks in the bark. Its song is a quiet and short peeping phrase. These warblers migrate north a bit earlier than most other warblers, and soon begin breeding. They usually build their nests on the ground, although a few construct theirs in a hidden spot just up the side of a tree trunk, and then use some carefully placed leaves to camouflage the nest. Each pair has four or five eggs that hatch in ten days. Predation on the ground nests by dogs, cats, raccoons, and other animals is common.

Black-and-white warblers and people: As with most warblers, its primary benefit to people is its beauty.

Conservation status: This bird is not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsNew World Warblers: Parulidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Yellow-breasted Chat (icteria Virens): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, NEW WORLD WARBLERS AND PEOPLE