Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky Warbler

Credit: Andrew Weitzel

Kentucky Warblers are small but chunky warblers with heavy bills, short tails, and long legs.

Male Kentucky Warblers have black caps, yellow eyebrows that curl behind the eyes, and black cheeks. Females have smaller and grayer caps rather than black ones. Both have bright yellow underparts and olive-green backs, wings, and tails. Immatures are similar to females.

  • Geothlypis formosa
  • Length: 5.1 in (13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.5 oz (13 – 14 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9 – 8.7 in (20 – 22 cm)


Kentucky Warblers breed in eastern US states and can be seen during migration in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. They spend the winter in Mexico and Central America.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Kentucky Warblers in forests with dense shrubs in the understory with an overhead tree canopy. They are also seen around moist woodlands, most often near streams. They feed on or near the ground but they perch high in the trees.

Kentucky Warblers primarily eat insects and their larvae and spiders. They hop through leaf litter on the forest floor and flip them over using their bills and feet. In winter, they follow ant swarms around, waiting until they flush out worms.

Kentucky Warblers Song:


Nests of Kentucky Warblers are hidden in shrubs made from leaves and grass and lined with softer material. They sometimes hide the nest under a dome of woven stalks. They lay up to six eggs which take about twelve days to hatch and nine days for the young to leave the nest.

Fun Facts:

Groups of male and female Kentucky Warblers chase each other around during courtship attracting more birds to the dance.

Male Kentucky Warblers apparently know only one song and will sing it all their life.