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Black-throated Gray Warbler

Setophaga nigrescens

Length: 5 inches Wingspan: 7.5 inches Seasonality: Rare Migrant
ID Keys: Strong facial pattern of black and white with black chin, throat, cheeks, and crown.  Small yellow spot between eye and bill.

Black-throated Gray Warbler - Setophaga nigrescensThe Black-throated Gray Warbler is normally found in the dry parts of the West.  While it is one of the most common "Western" warblers to roam to the eastern half of the country, they are only very rare migrants in South Dakota.  Although feeding almost exclusively on insects, they have surprised birders by occasionally stopping at feeding stations for suet, fruit, or peanut butter.

Habitat: Breeds in dry conifer and mixed woods, especially those of oak, juniper, and pinyon pine, although preferably in second-growth woodland and not mature forest.   They can also be found in shrubby thickets in the Southwest.  

Diet: Primarily feeds on insects.  Will occasionally come to feeders in migration and in winter for the items mentioned below.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Black-throated Gray Warbler sightings

Song: Song is variable, but generally insect-like buzzy phrases rising towards the end. 

Migration: Summers throughout the southwestern quarter of the United States, and near the Pacific Coast up through southern British Columbia.  Winters in the extreme Southwest U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

Similar Species: Black-and-White Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler

Feeders: They will occasionally come to feeders in migration for suet, fruit, or peanut butter.

Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Black-throated Gray Warbler

2) WhatBird - Black-throated Gray Warbler

3) Audubon Guide - Black-throated Gray Warbler

Photo Information: Photo courtesy of Matt Orsie.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Black-throated Gray Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Very rare visitor, with just a handful of records in the state.

Additional Black-throated Gray Warbler Photos (coming soon!)