Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    

Palm Warbler

Setophaga palmarum

Length: 5.25 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Variable, with a less common "Yellow Palm Warbler" in the extreme east, and a more drably colored plumage.  All have a chestnut cap, pale eye-brow, yellow undertail coverts, and a habit of bobbing their tail as they forage..

Palm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warblers are a fairly common sight during spring migration in the eastern U.S., as they are most often in low vegetation and are readily identifiable because of their tail-bobbing habit.  Despite the name, Palm Warblers generally don't forage or roost in palm trees, even during their winter months in Florida or the tropics. The "Yellow Palm Warbler" is a more colorful version found in smaller numbers in the extreme eastern portions of North America.

Habitat: Found in sphagnum bogs with scattered trees during the summer breeding season.  In winter and in migration, they are generally found in low vegetation, such as brush, hedgerows, short second-growth forest, and overgrown fields.

Diet: Feeds on insects, spiders, berries, and seeds.  

Behavior: Will sometimes join mixed flocks of warblers, chickadees, sparrows, and juncos during fall and winter.  Much of its winter foraging is conducted on the ground, while summer foraging is largely conducted in trees and brush.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Buzzy simple trilling, often with more emphasis in the middle.

Migration: Summers throughout central and southeastern Canada, the extreme northern Great Lakes region, and northern New England.  Winters near the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the southeastern U.S., Mexico, and Central America.  A few winter along the Pacific Coast every year.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Palm Warbler sightings

Similar Species: Cape May Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Conservation Status: Numbers are stable.

Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Palm Warbler

2) Audubon Guide - Palm Warbler

3) WhatBird - Palm Warbler

Photo Information: May 14th, 2006 -- Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Palm Warbler photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Palm Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon migrant in the eastern part of the state, much rarer in the West.

Additional Palm Warbler Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Palm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler - Setophaga palmarum