Helmitheros Vermivorum – Worm-Eating Warbler

Helmitheros Vermivorum - Worm-Eating Warbler found in the US

The worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) is a small New World warbler that breeds in eastern North America and winters in southern Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.

Quick Overview: Helmitheros Vermivorum – Worm-Eating Warbler
Body size: Around 5.25 in (13 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz)
Main colors: Olive-Gray, Yellow, Black
Range: Southeastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Worm-Eating Warbler Description

Ground nesting warbler of medium size with olive-gray upperparts and pale yellow underparts. Yellow crown stripes and eye-lines are black.

Helmitheros Vermivorum - Worm-Eating Warbler found in the US
Helmitheros Vermivorum – Worm-Eating Warbler. Photo by: Kris Petersen


These birds have a length of 5.25 in (13 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz). Their wings could range from 8.5 in (22 cm).


This warbler was given the name “Worm-eating” because it feeds on caterpillars, which were traditionally referred to as “worms.” The species has not been observed extracting earthworms from the soil in the manner in which American Robins (Turdus migratorius) do.


Worm-eating Warblers breed in the interiors of deciduous and mixed forests, particularly on hillsides or slopes with dense understory plants. In the northern portion of their range, they inhabit forests of beech-maple, oak-hickory, hemlock, mountain laurel, and rhododendron.


The Eater of Worms Perhaps the most well-known feature of the warbler is its habit of hopping through the understory and probing into suspended dead leaves for food. This is its principal foraging approach on wintering grounds, although it is also used on breeding grounds, particularly before the leaves emerge in spring.

Helmitheros Vermivorum Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Parulidae
  • Genus: Helmitheros
  • Species: Helmitheros vernivorum

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Worm-Eating Warbler in the USA

Breeds in southeastern Iowa, over the Ohio Valley, and into the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England states, with some populations extending into the southern states.

The Worm-eating Warbler can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Helmitheros Vermivorum – Worm-Eating Warbler

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