Setophaga Castanea – Bay-Breasted Warbler

Setophaga Castanea - Bay-Breasted Warbler found in the US

The bay-breasted warbler (Setophaga castanea) is a tiny songbird species belonging to the Parulidae family of New World warblers. It is one of thirty-four species of the genus Setophaga, which is quite varied. As is the case with all songbirds, or passerines, the species is categorized as a member of the Passeriformes order.

Quick Overview: Setophaga Castanea – Bay-Breasted Warbler
Body size: Around 5.5 in (14 cm) and a weight of 14 g (0.5 oz)
Main colors: Gray, Chestnut-Brown, Brown, Black
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Bay-Breasted Warbler Description

Dark-streaked gray upperparts and buff underparts with chestnut-brown spots on the chin, throat, breast, and sides characterize this medium-sized warbler. The head is dark brown in color with a black mask. Black wings with two white bands. It is a big warbler.

Setophaga Castanea - Bay-Breasted Warbler found in the US
Setophaga Castanea – Bay-Breasted Warbler. Photo by: Fishhawk


These birds have a length of 5.5 in (14 cm) and a weight of 14 g (0.5 oz). Their wings could range from 8.5 in (22 cm).


Bay-breasted warblers feed mostly on insects and spiders during the breeding season, particularly the spruce budworm. These are gathered from plants and are never captured on the wing.


Bay-breasted Warblers breed primarily in mature boreal spruce and fir woods, but also in other coniferous trees such as hemlock or pine, as well as in mixed birch and maple forests.


Adult Bay-breasted Warblers migrate more westward in the fall than first-year birds. Adult birds migrate more west than east of the Appalachian Mountains, whereas first-year birds are more numerous east of the mountains and along the coast.

Setophaga Castanea Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Parulidae
  • Genus: Setophaga
  • Species: Setophaga castanea

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).

Distribution of the Bay-Breasted Warbler in the USA

Breeds in northeastern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories and extends east to the Maritime Provinces and south to the northern Great Lakes region and northern New England. Spends the coldest months of the year in the tropics.

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

Setophaga Castanea – Bay-Breasted Warbler

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