Home Bird watching tips Warblers Florida – photo and ID guide

Warblers Florida – photo and ID guide

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palm warbler

Check out this guide to the warblers in Florida you are most likely to see. 

There are 35 species of warbler in Florida according to The World Bird Database and the Florida Ornithological Society.

It can be quite difficult to tell warblers apart as most are in shades of yellow and they often sit high in the trees. They are small birds in Florida that are a delight to see.

To add to the confusion some warblers molt and change into a more dull fall color to make spotting them harder.

Spotting warblers in Florida is great as many birds migrate through on their way to breeding grounds and others either winter in Florida or remain all year in the state.

So don’t delay get spotting these migratory birds while you can.

18 Common Warblers of Florida:

  1. Pine Warbler
  2. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  3. Common Yellowthroat
  4. Palm Warbler
  5. Northern Parula
  6. American Redstart
  7. Blackpoll Warbler
  8. Black-throated Blue Warbler
  9. Black-and-white Warbler
  10. Cape May Warbler
  11. Yellow-throated Warbler
  12. Prairie Warbler
  13. Ovenbird
  14. Prothonotary Warbler
  15. Magnolia Warbler
  16. Hooded Warbler
  17. Orange-crowned Warbler
  18. Yellow Warbler

Warblers are migratory birds that travel long distances from as far as South America up to breeding grounds in Canada.

This makes Florida a great place to see Warblers as you can see the migrating birds in spring in May and overwintering Warblers in the winter.

Most Common Warblers in Florida in Spring:

  1. Northern Parula
  2. Common Yellowthroat
  3. American Redstart
  4. Pine Warbler
  5. Blackpoll Warbler

Most Common Warblers in Florida in Winter:

  1. Palm Warbler
  2. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  3. Common Yellowthroat
  4. Pine Warbler
  5. Black-and-white Warbler

Pine Warblers can be found all year in Florida. They are more common in the winter between October and April when migrating birds add to their numbers. Some birds, however,  do not leave until mid-June and others arrive back in September. Pine Warblers are small plump yellow birds with olive backs, white lower bellies, and gray wingbars.  Females can appear browner and have more white on the belly.

  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

They breed in Northeastern US states before heading south. Some remain all year in Southeastern US states.

Pine Warblers can be found in pine forests, as their name would suggest, often high up in the trees. They eat caterpillars, beetles, spiders, and other insects and larvae and when the weather is colder they will eat fruit and seeds.

You can attract more Pine Warblers with tube feeders and platform feeders with millet, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and suet.  Also plant native fruits and vines such as bayberry, grape, sumac, and Virginia creeper.

2. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers spend the winter in Florida arriving from September but mostly in October and leaving between March and the end of May.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings. Females may be slightly brown and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.

After breeding predominantly in Canada they migrate in large numbers south across most of the southern and central states and the Pacific Coast and throughout Mexico and Central America. 

  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season, during winter they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer they eat mostly insects and on migration and in winter they mostly fruit including bayberry and wax myrtle. 

You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.States

3. Common Yellowthroat

common yellowthroat

Some Common Yellowthroats remain all year in Florida, while other make the long journey to Canada. In the spring and fall, their numbers can be even greater with birds stopping on their way further south. 

Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds that are brownish on the back and bright yellow underneath, with long tails.  The males have a black mask across the face.  The brightness of the yellow can vary geographically and they may be more olive in parts underneath.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 oz (9-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)

Common Yellowthroats spend the summer breeding over most of North America, except Alaska and northern Canada. Some remain all year along the Gulf Coast and Pacific Southwest.

They can be found in the spring and summer often in marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields living in thick, tangled vegetation. 

They eat mostly insects and will be found in large backyards that have dense vegetation.

4. Palm Warbler

palm warbler

Palm Warblers are winter birds in Florida. They are the most commonly spotted warbler in winter in Florida. They migrate in April and return from breeding grounds in Canada in September.

The palm warbler has a rusty red patch on the top of its head and is a browny-olive color over the rest of its body. The breed in Canada but can be found in eastern states during the migration and all year along the far south coast and Florida.

  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (7-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.3 in (20-21 cm)

Palm Warblers breed predominantly in Canada and can be seen during migration in eastern US states. Some winter in Florida and along the southeastern coast.

Spring and fall is the best time to spot them in weedy fields, forest edges, and scrubby areas. They are often found foraging along the ground for insects, mixed in with other birds such as Sparrows, Juncos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

To attract more Palm Warblers to your backyard try planting native plants that attract insects and bayberry or hawthorn for their berries.

5. Northern Parula

Another warbler of Florida that remains all year. The Northern Parula numbers are also increased during spring and fall with birds migrating through. They are the most commonly spotted warbler in Florida in spring.

With a colorful contrast of gray and yellow the Northern Parula is a cheery warbler found in woodlands.

They are bluish-gray on the back with a yellow patch on the back and with two white wingbars. Males have a chestnut band that separates the yellow throat and chest that adorns both males and females. Females are paler than males.

  • Length: 4.3-4.7 in (11-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.4 oz (5-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)

Northern Parulas breed in the Eastern States and southeastern Canada before heading to Central America and the Caribbean for winter. They may remain for winter in southern Florida.

Feeding on insects high up in deciduous forests and building nests in long clumps of lichen and moss that drape from the branches. The best way to spot them is by looking up at large clumps of hanging moss in the summer.

6. American Redstart

American redstart

Some American Redstarts have been spotted all year in Florida but they are mostly seen here during migration in the spring and fall.

American Redstarts are mostly black with bright orange patches and a white belly. Females are olive-gray instead of black and have yellow patches.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (6-9 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)

They have a vast breeding range across eastern US states and Canada and across to northwestern US states and Canada. They may also be seen during migration in central states.

They can be found in deciduous woodlands eating insects and also in backyards and thickets eating berries such as serviceberry and magnolia.

7. Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Credit: Fyn Kynd

Blackpoll Warblers are only seen during migration in Florida mostly in April and May as they stop on their way north. Less are spotted in the fall as they make an epic journey without really stopping on the way back.

Blackpoll Warblers are black-and-white with a black cap in the males. They look very different in late summer and molt into yellow with darker streaking on the back.

  • Length: 5.5 in (14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm)

Blackpoll Warblers breed in Canada and can be seen during spring migration in the Eastern US. In fall they migrate back without really stopping to their winter grounds in South America and the Caribbean. They make the journey over the Atlantic Ocean non-stop.

Feeding mostly on spiders and insects, Blackpoll Warblers will also eat fruit such as honeysuckle and pokeberry in the fall.

 

8. Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warblers are mostly seen during the spring and fall migrations in Florida. Some birds have remained through the winter.

Male Black-throated Blue Warblers are a lovely rich blue color on the back and white underneath. They are unusual amongst the predominantly yellow warblers. Females are very plain in comparison and are grayish-olive.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-7.9 in (19-20 cm)

Breeding in northwestern US states and Canada. They can also be seen during migration over eastern US states.

They can be found in lower areas of deciduous forests, shrubby areas and sometimes gardens looking for insects.

9. Black-and-white Warbler

Black and white warbler

Black-and-white Warblers don’t leave Florida for long in the summer, if at all. Their numbers swell during spring and fall migration.

Black-and-white Warblers are quite distinctive and so more easy to identify with their stiped appearance.

Males have a larger black patch across the eye and cheek and are a darker black than females.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (8-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)

Black-and-white Warblers spend the winter in Florida, along the Gulf Coast and Down through Mexico, Baja California, the Caribbean and into South America.

In spring they head north across the southwestern United States and along the border with Canada from east to west.

They are easy to spot hopping up and down on tree trunks and branches looking for insects.

If you enjoy spotting birds in Florida then check out these great guides:

10. Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warblers are mostly seen during spring and fall migration in Florida, in April and May and again in September and October. Some birds remain through the winter.

Male Cape May Warblers are distinctive heads that are framed in a ring of yellow around the neck, chestnut cheeks and dark caps. They are mottled yellow-olive above and yellow with dark streaks below.

Female and immature Cape May Warblers are less bright and lack the head coloring of the males.

  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (10.2-15.2 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in (20-22 cm)

Cape May Warblers winter in the Caribbean and a narrow band of the coast on the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America. They migrate to breeding grounds in Canada passing over Eastern US states.

They feed mainly in spruce budworm in summer but in winter they will eat fruit and nectar and will feed on hummingbird feeders.

11. Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warblers can be seen all year in Florida but are more common during the fall migration and winter.

Similar in appearance to the Common Yellowthroat, the Yellow-throated Warbler has a gray and white body with black stripes rather than a brown body.

  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)

Yellow-throated Warblers breed across the southeastern states and spend winter in Florida, the Caribbean and along the Gulf Coast into Central America. 

They spend their time at the top of pine trees but may forage lower down during migration.

12. Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor)

Prairie Warblers can be seen all year in Florida, but they are more common during the spring and fall migration.

These small songbirds are olive green on the back and yellow on the throat and belly. They have black streaks on the sides and a dark semicircle under the eye. Female Prairie Warblers are duller in color.

  • Length: 4.3 in (11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (6.4-8.8 g)

They breed over the eastern and southeastern states and spend the winter in Florida and the Caribbean and some coastal areas in Central America.

Those in Florida that remain all year are considered to be separate subspecies and are slightly larger.

Although called a prairie warbler they actually live in fields and forests

13. Ovenbird

Ovenbird

Ovenbirds are in Florida in winter and they leave in late April and early May and return in August.

Ovenbirds look drab compared to other warblers with their olive-green backs and black-and-white spotted underside.

  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.0 oz (16-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-10.2 in (19-26 cm)

They breed in northeastern US states and Canada, the Midwest and up into northwest Canada. They can be seen during migration in eastern US states.

Ovenbirds get their name from the unsy=usal shaped nest they build, which resembles the shape of a dutch oven.

14. Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warblers are in Florida all year but they are more common in Summer.

Prothonotary Warblers are bright yellow with blue-gray wings and tails. Females are less bright than males.

Unusual for warblers, Prothonotary Warblers breed in eastern and southeastern states before migrating to Central and South America.

They breed in wet wooded areas that are flooded, near streams, or in swamps. 

Prothonotary Warblers eat spiders, insects and snails. In winter they will also eat fruit and seeds.

15. Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warblers spend winter in Florida and their numbers are also increased during spring and fall migration.

Magnolia Warblers males are black on the back and yellow underneath. They have black streaking from a ‘necklace’ on their necks down over their bellies. Females are grayer on the back and lack the distinctive streaking down the belly.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.5 oz (6-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Magnolia Warblers breed across Canada and Northeastern US states in forests. They can be seen during migration in the Eastern US.

They spend the winter in Central America and the Caribbean.

Although they do not visit feeders you can help provide a habitat for insects, which they feed on, by planting native trees and shrubs.

16. Hodded Warbler

Hooded warbler

Hooded Warblers can be seen in Florida all year but they are more common during spring and fall migration. The best time to see Hooded Warblers in Florida is mid-April.

Male Hooded Warblers have a bright yellow face with a distinctive black hood and throat. They are yellow underneath and olive-green above.

Females and immature are more yellow and without the black face markings.

  • Length: 5.1 in (13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.9 in (17.5 cm)

They breed in eastern states before heading south into Central America and the Caribbean for winter.

Forests with dense understories to hunt for insects are the best place to find Hooded Warblers.

17. Orange-crowned Warbler

orange-crowned-warbler

Orange-crowned Warblers are winter birds in Florida they start arriving in September and leave in from late March.

Orange-crowned Warblers are not as brightly colored as other warblers with their yellow-olive coloring, which is more yellow on the Pacific Coast. The orange crown is rarely seen.

  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)

Breeding in Canada and western states before migrating to the Pacific, East and Gulf Coasts and Mexico. Orange-crowned Warblers can also be seen during migration across all states.

Orange-crowned Warblers can be found in shrubs and low vegetation and breed in open woodland.

Their diet consists mainly of insects and spiders such as spiders, caterpillars, and flies.  They will also eat fruit, berries, and seeds and regularly visit backyard feeders.

To attract more Orange-crowned Warblers to your yard try suet and peanut butter or hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar.

18. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler

Yellow Warblers are mostly seen during the fall migration in Florida, between August and October. Some birds remain all winter with extra birds during spring migration in late April.

Yellow Warblers are small bright yellow birds with a yellow-green back, and the males have chestnut streaks on the breast, which are a common sight in summer.

  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Yellow Warblers migrate a long distance to breed over much of North America before heading into Central and northern South America for winter.

They can be seen during migration in the far south.

Yellow Warblers can be found along streams and wetlands in thickets and along the edges of fields foraging for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.

Warblers are hard to attract to your backyard as they are shy and eat mainly insects,  but you can try suet, oranges, and peanut butter. 

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