Setophaga Discolor – Prairie Warbler

Setophaga Discolor - Prairie Warbler found in the US

The prairie warbler (Setophaga discolor) is a tiny songbird in the warbler family found in the New World. Prairie warblers are little warblers with yellowish-green upperparts and a brilliant yellow underside.

Quick Overview: Setophaga Discolor – Prairie Warbler
Body size: Around 4.75 in (12 cm) and a weight of 9 g (0.3 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Olive-Green, Red-Brown, Yellow, Black, Yellow-Green
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Prairie Warbler Description

Brown-streaked, olive-green upperparts with reddish-brown streaking; bright yellow underparts with black streaking on the sides. The head is yellow-green in color, with a yellow face and dark eye and cheek stripes.

Setophaga Discolor - Prairie Warbler found in the US
Setophaga Discolor – Prairie Warbler. Photo by: Andy Morffew


These birds have a length of 4.75 in (12 cm) and a weight of 9 g (0.3 oz). Their wings could range from 7.5 in (19 cm).


Prairie Warblers prey primarily on insects and spiders, but occasionally on molluscs, fruit, and other plant material.


Not a bird of broad grasslands, this warbler nests primarily in densely packed young second-growth scrub. Rather than prairies, this species is found in pine forests, mangroves, and overgrown fields. These habitats are frequently transient, and colonies may relocate from year to year.


Prairie Warblers forage primarily in lower branches and shrubs, waving their tails up and down. It forages for leaves and branches and occasionally hawks insects in the air. The Florida species nests over water in mangrove wetlands.

Setophaga Discolor Scientific Classification

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

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 Prairie Warbler in the USA

In the upper midwestern portion of its range, it is declining. Breeds from southern Ontario and middle New England south to Oklahoma, the Gulf Coast, and Florida, numerous regions are considered to be local. Southern Florida and the tropics winters. 

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

Setophaga Discolor – Prairie Warbler

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