Setophaga Fusca – Blackburnian Warbler

Setophaga Fusca - Blackburnian Warbler found in the US

The Blackburnian warbler (Setophaga fusca) is a tiny warbler native to the New World. Blackburnian warblers are migratory birds that spend their winters in southern Central America and South America. They are extremely rare vagrants to western Europe.

Quick Overview: Setophaga Fusca – Blackburnian Warbler
Body size: Around 5 in (13 cm) and a weight of 11 g (0.4 oz)
Main colors: Yellow-Orange, Black, Orange, White
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

Blackburnian Warbler Description

Yellow-orange head, black cap, cheek patch, and orange throat characterize this medium warbler. The upper parts are black with white stripes, while the underparts are white with black streaking on the flanks. White patches are noticeable on the wings. The tail is black with white tail feathers on the outer feathers.

Setophaga Fusca - Blackburnian Warbler found in the US
Setophaga Fusca – Blackburnian Warbler. Photo by: Ethan.gosnell2


These birds have a length of 5 in (13 cm) and a weight of 11 g (0.4 oz). Their wings could range from 8 in (20 cm).


These birds are primarily insectivorous but will consume berries during the winter. They typically forage in treetops, looking for insects or spiders. During the breeding season, their diet is dominated by larvae of the Lepidoptera order, which includes moths and butterflies.


Blackburnian Warblers prefer mature coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests, though they may nest in pure deciduous forests in Virginia and North Carolina, their southernmost breeding range.


Typically, blackburnian warblers fly in mixed-species flocks. Typically, each flock contains between one and two blackburnian warblers, but it can contain up to seven. Apart from foraging in close proximity to one another, they are not particularly social with other species. They have adapted to coexist with other species and avoid direct competition by remaining in the top third of the tree canopy and foraging and nesting on the outside of the branches, a process known as niche partitioning.

Setophaga Fusca Scientific Classification

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

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 Blackburnian Warbler in the USA

Breeds from Alberta to Newfoundland, south to the Great Lakes, southern New England, and north to northern Georgia along the Appalachian Mountains. Winters in South America’s tropics.

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

Setophaga Fusca – Blackburnian Warbler

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