Limnothlypis Swainsonii – Swainson’s Warbler

Swainson’s warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) is a tiny warbler species indigenous to the New World. It is a monotypic species, the sole representative of the genus Limnothlypis. Swainson’s warbler was named after English ornithologist William Swainson.

Quick Overview: Limnothlypis Swainsonii – Swainson’s Warbler
Body size: Around 5-5.5 in (13-14 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz)
Main colors: Olive-Brown, Gray, Brown, White
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

Swainson’s Warbler Description

Medium-sized warbler with olive-brown upperparts and pale gray underparts. The Head has a brown cap, white eyebrows, and dark eye-lines. Wings are plain olive-brown.

Limnothlypis Swainsonii - Swainson's Warbler found in the Southeastern United States
Swainsonii – Swainson’s Warbler: Photo by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region.


These birds have a length of 5-5.5 in (13-14 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz). Their wings could range from 8.5 in (22 cm)


It forages by strolling along the ground, using its huge (for a warbler) bill to pick up insects, spiders, larvae, and small lizards. Swainson’s Warblers may also forage for food in low bushes. Unlike other warblers, it is not a nectar or berry eater.


Within this region, it is found in canebrakes and thickets in swamps and amid hardwoods; in the southern Appalachians, it is found in thickets of laurel and rhododendron in damp, montane forests. Winters in the West Indies and surrounding territories.


At approximately ten months of age, this species begins breeding. Pairs create establish and defend a nesting territory. Nests are fairly enormous and substantial, made of moss, grass, and tiny leaves that are suspended above the ground in a tangle of long reeds or vines. Between three and five eggs are laid by the female. Eggs are white and occasionally, but infrequently, mottled with brown. Incubation is carried out only by the female and lasts approximately 14 days, following which the eggs hatch.

Limnothlypis Swainsonii Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Parulidae
  • Genus: Limnothlypis
  • Species: Limnothlypis swainsonii

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 Swainson’s Warbler in the USA

The Swainson’s Warbler, one of North America’s most secretive bird species, is a medium-sized wood-warbler that breeds in the southeastern United States and overwinters in the Caribbean, Yucatán Peninsula, and eastern Mexico.

Swainson’s Warbler can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Limnothlypis Swainsonii – Swainson’s Warbler

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