Setophaga petechia - (Linnaeus, 1766)
Yellow Warbler
Other English Common Names: yellow warbler
Synonym(s): Dendroica petechia (Linnaeus, 1766)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Dendroica petechia (Linnaeus, 1766) (TSN 178878)
French Common Names: paruline jaune
Spanish Common Names: Chipe Amarillo
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106383
Element Code: ABPBX03010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 10494

© Bruce A. Sorrie

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Parulidae Setophaga
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Dendroica petechia
Taxonomic Comments: Phylogenetic analyses of sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (Lovette et al. 2010) indicate that all species formerly placed in Dendroica, one species formerly placed in Wilsonia (citrina), and two species formerly placed in Parula (americana and pitiayumi) form a clade with the single species traditionally placed in Setophaga (ruticilla). The generic name Setophaga has priority for this clade (AOU 2011).

Comprises three groups that formerly were regarded as separate species: D. aestiva (Yellow Warbler, of Canada and U.S.), D. petechia (Golden Warbler, of southern Florida and West Indies), and D. erithachorides (Mangrove Warbler, of both coasts of Middle America and northern South America) (AOU 1983, 1998). Browning (1994) examined geographic variation in plumage color and pattern and recognized 43 subspecies, some of which he described as new. Undoubtedly, some would question whether all of these represent units worthy of taxonomic recognition. Klein and Brown (1994) examined mtDNA variation in populations from North America, Central America, South America, and the West Indies. Only one of 37 identified haplotypes was found in more than one of these regions. The mtDNAs from North American migratory populations clearly were differentiated from those of most tropical sedentary populations. Apparently multiple colonizations of the West Indies archipelago and of individual Caribbean islands have occurred.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5M (25Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S2B), Alaska (S5B), Arizona (S4), Arkansas (S3B,S5N), California (S3S4), Colorado (S5), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (S4B), District of Columbia (S2N), Florida (SNRB,SNRN), Georgia (S4), Idaho (S5B), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S4B), Kansas (S4B), Kentucky (S4S5B), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (S5B), Maryland (S5B), Massachusetts (S5B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNRB), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S3B), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (S3S4B,S4M), New Hampshire (S5B), New Jersey (S4B), New Mexico (S4B,S4N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S4B), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S3B), Oregon (S4B), Pennsylvania (S5B), Rhode Island (S5B), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S5B), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S2B,S5N), Utah (S4S5B), Vermont (S5B), Virginia (S5), Washington (S4S5B), West Virginia (S5B), Wisconsin (S5B), Wyoming (S5B,S5N)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S5B), Labrador (S5B,S5M), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S5B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S5B,S5M), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S5B), Nunavut (SUB), Ontario (S5B), Prince Edward Island (S5B), Quebec (S5B), Saskatchewan (S5B), Yukon Territory (S5B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Breeding range extends from northern Alaska across northern Canada to Labrador, and south to Panama and through the West Indies to the northern coast of South America. Range during the northern winter extends from southern California, southern Arizona, northern Mexico, and southern Florida south to central Peru, northern Bolivia, and Amazonian Brazil. Resident populations exist in the West Indies (Pashley 1988, Pashley 1988, Pashley and Hamilton 1990) and Middle America, along the Gulf-Caribbean coast to Venezuela, and on the Pacific coast of South America south to northwestern Peru.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Jeopardized in some areas by loss of riparian habitat in combination with heavy brood parasitism by cowbirds (Ehrlich et al. 1992).

Short-term Trend Comments: Reportedly as declining in several areas in the U.S., most seriously in California and Arizona (Ehrlich et al. 1992). Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a significant population increase in eastern North America, 1966-1988 and 1978-1988; a significant decrease in central North America, 1966-1988; and a significant increase in western North America, 1978-1988 (Sauer and Droege 1992).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Breeding range extends from northern Alaska across northern Canada to Labrador, and south to Panama and through the West Indies to the northern coast of South America. Range during the northern winter extends from southern California, southern Arizona, northern Mexico, and southern Florida south to central Peru, northern Bolivia, and Amazonian Brazil. Resident populations exist in the West Indies (Pashley 1988, Pashley 1988, Pashley and Hamilton 1990) and Middle America, along the Gulf-Caribbean coast to Venezuela, and on the Pacific coast of South America south to northwestern Peru.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Alameda (06001), Butte (06007), Fresno (06019), Imperial (06025)*, Inyo (06027), Kern (06029)*, Los Angeles (06037), Marin (06041)*, Mendocino (06045)*, Mono (06051), Monterey (06053)*, Nevada (06057), Orange (06059), Placer (06061), Riverside (06065), San Bernardino (06071), San Diego (06073), San Joaquin (06077), Santa Barbara (06083), Sierra (06091), Tehama (06103), Ventura (06111)
FL Monroe (12087)
OK Murray (40099)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+
11 Middle Washita (11130303)+
15 Havasu-Mohave Lakes (15030101)+, Imperial Reservoir (15030104)+, Lower Colorado (15030107)+*
16 Lake Tahoe (16050101)+, Truckee (16050102)+
18 Upper Eel (18010103)+*, Upper Yuba (18020125)+, Upper Bear (18020126)+, North Fork American (18020128)+*, Cottonwood Creek (18020152)+, Paynes Creek-Sacramento River (18020155)+, Thomes Creek-Sacramento River (18020156)+*, Butte Creek (18020158)+, South Fork Kern (18030002)+*, Upper San Joaquin (18040006)+, Upper Mokelumne (18040012)+, San Francisco Bay (18050004)+, Tomales-Drake Bays (18050005)+*, Salinas (18060005)+*, Santa Maria (18060008)+, Santa Barbara Coastal (18060013)+, Ventura (18070101)+, Santa Clara (18070102)+, San Gabriel (18070106)+, San Jacinto (18070202)+, Santa Ana (18070203)+, Aliso-San Onofre (18070301)+, Santa Margarita (18070302)+, San Luis Rey-Escondido (18070303)+, San Diego (18070304)+, Mono Lake (18090101)+, Upper Amargosa (18090202)+*, Death Valley-Lower Amargosa (18090203)+*, Indian Wells-Searles Valleys (18090205)+, Mojave (18090208)+, Southern Mojave (18100100)+*, Whitewater River (18100201)+, Carrizo Creek (18100202)+, Salton Sea (18100204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: The plumage more extensively yellow than that of most other wood-warblers; the yellow areas on the inner webs of the tail feathers (except inner pair) are unique. Adult males in breeding plumage have a bright yellow face, throat, and remaining underparts, variably streaked with chestnut below the throat, and the upperparts are yellow-green to olive, with the wing feathers edged yellow. Breeding female is similar but less boldly marked (often duller or greener on upperparts), with reduced chestnut streaking on the underparts. Adults in winter are duller and more greenish above, and the streaking on the underparts is somewhat obscured. Immatures are duller than are adults and more greenish (may show very little yellow), and the streaking on the underparts is reduced or absent. Length is around 5 inches (13 cm).

See Kaufman (1991, Am. Birds 45:167-170) for detailed information on identification. See Wiedenfeld (1991) for information on geographical variation in male morphology.

Reproduction Comments: Nesting occurs mainly in May-June but may continue into July or rarely August. Clutch size is 3-6 in most region (usually 4-5, but mean of 2.5 in southern Florida). Incubation, by the female, lasts 11-12 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 9-12 days. Females generally attempt only one brood per year.

Yellow warblers are commonly subjected to brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds. Adult warblers often can be seen feeding much larger cowbird fledglings.

Ecology Comments: Breeding territories are as small as 0.16 ha (Harrison 1979).

See Weatherhead 1989 for relations among yellow warbler, red-winged blackbird, and brown-headed cowbird in Manitoba (yellow warbler heavily impacted by cowbird parasitism; cowbirds abundant due to success of cowbirds in blackbird nests).

Migrants are solitary and territorial in winter (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Greenberg and Salgado Ortiz 1994).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrants arrive in breeding areas in northern contiguous United States mainly in Arpil-May, primarily in May in interior Alaska. Southward migration from northern nesting areas begins as early as July (or August in the far north), and southward migration throughout the contiguous United States continues through September-October and rarely into November in some areas.

In Costa Rica, abundant fall migrant September-October, with small numbers arriving by mid-August; migrants depart by early to mid-May (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Migrants are present in South America mainly September-April (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Nonmigratory populations occur in the West Indies, Middle America, and northern coastal South America.

Estuarine Habitat(s): Scrub-shrub wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes open scrub, second-growth woodland, thickets, farmlands, and gardens, especially near water; riparian woodlands, especially of willows, are typical habitat in the West. In migration and winter, yellow warblers often occur in open woodland, plantations, brushy areas, and forest edge. Winter habitat in Mexico generally has a clear open understory (Greenberg and Salgado Ortiz 1994). Southern populations occupy mangroves, scrub, and thickets. Nests are placed in upright forks or crotches of bushes (e.g., willow), saplings, or large trees, from less than a meter above ground to high in tall trees.

See Knopf and Sedgwick (1992) for information on nest-site selection in north-central Colorado, where sites were chosen based primarily on characteristics of the vegetation patch rather than on characteristics of the nest plant itself.

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats insects (especially caterpillars) and spiders. Takes most food items from leaves or bark; sometimes flycatches; occasionally eats small fruits or probes in flowers (Lack 1976).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 13 centimeters
Weight: 10 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Passerines

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site, Nesting Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas.

For swallows and other species that have separate nesting and foraging areas, separations are based on nest sites or nesting areas, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap larger than the separation distance are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Mean foraging radius (from nesting area) of Brown-headed Cowbird females was 4.0 kilometers in California, 1.2 kilometers in Illinois-Missouri (Thompson 1994). Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and probably Red-winged Blackbirds all forage up to 1.6 kilometers away from breeding colony (Willson 1966, Horn 1968). In one study, Brewer's Blackbirds were found as far as 10 kilometers from nesting area (Williams 1952), but this may be unusual.

For swallows and other parrerines with similar behavioral ecology, separation distance pertains to nest sites or nesting colonies, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: For most passerines: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat.

For swallows: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 100 birds in appropriate habitat (e.g., traditional roost sites).

Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually.

EOs should not be described for species that are nomadic during nonbreeding season: e.g., Lark Bunting.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary but intended to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any area used traditionally in the nonbreeding season (used for populations that are not resident in a location year-round). Minimally, reliable observations of 10 or more individuals in appropriate habitat for 20 or more days at a time. For G1-G3 species, observations of fewer individuals could constitute an occurrence of conservation value. Sites used during migration should be documented under the 'migratory stopover' location use class.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is necessarily arbitrary but attempts to balance the high mobility of birds with the need for occurrences of reasonable spatial scope. Note that a population's roost sites and foraging areas are parts of the same occurrence, even if they are more than 5 km apart.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Nonmigratory
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a particular location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in or near appropriate habitat.

These occurrence specifications are used for nonmigratory populations of passerine birds.

Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and breeding-season foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Blue jays have small summer home ranges but fly up to 4 kilometers to harvest mast (Tarvin and Woolfenden 1999). Flocks of pinyon jays range over 21-29 square kilometers (Ligon 1971, Balda and Bateman 1971); nesting and foraging areas may be widely separated. Tricolored blackbirds forage in flocks that range widely to more than 15 kilometers from the nesting colony (Beedy and Hamilton 1999).

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: These specs pertain to nonmigratory species.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Feb2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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