Swainson’s Warbler

Swainson’s Warblers
Credit: John Mangold

Swainson’s Warblers are medium-sized, chunky ground-dwelling birds. Males and females look the same. They both have brown heads, white eyebrows, black eye lines, brown backs and wings, and whitish throats and bellies.

Juveniles may be olive rather than brown but share the same characteristics. 

  • Limnothlypis swainsonii
  • Length: 5 – 5.5 inches (13 – 14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7 oz (20 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.5 inches (22 cm)


Swainson’s Warblers breed in southeastern US states before migrating to the Caribbean and Mexico.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Swainson’s Warblers around tall thickets and giant canebreaks near swamps and rivers. They spend their time walking on the ground hidden under the dense understory of moist forests. 

Swainson’s Warblers walk rapidly among the openings in the dense understory of the forest. They probe under leaf litter to find insects like caterpillars, beetles, ants, crickets, grasshoppers, and flies. They may also probe the ground with their heavy bill or take flight from perch to perch to catch insects in the air. 

Swainson’s Warblers’ Song:


Nests of Swainson’s Warblers are located above ground but concealed in thick clumps of cane, vines, or rhododendron. Sometimes, they’re also located over water or up to 4 feet above the ground. Nests are made of leaves, sticks, and vines and lined with moss, grass, and ferns. 

Females lay between two to five eggs in these nests. She will also incubate them by herself for about thirteen to fifteen days. The young may leave the nest after twelve days.