Setophaga Townsendi – Townsend’s Warbler

Setophaga Townsendi - Townsend's Warbler found in the US

The Townsend’s warbler (Setophaga townsendi) is a tiny songbird in the warbler family found in the New World. Townsend’s warbler was given the binomial name Sylvia townsendi in 1837 by American scientist John Kirk Townsend.

Quick Overview: Setophaga Townsendi – Townsend’s Warbler
Body size: Around 4.75 – 5 in (12-13 cm) and a weight of 9 g (0.3 oz)
Main colors: Olive-Green, Black, Yellow, White
Range: Western 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

Townsend’s Warbler Description

Upperparts are olive-green, with a black throat and upper breast. Yellow with black stripes on the lower breast and sides, white on the belly. Yellowface with a black crown and cheek patch and a yellow crescent beneath the eye. Two white bars are visible on the wings. The tail is white on the margins, with a black core and tip.

Setophaga Townsendi - Townsend's Warbler found in the US
Setophaga Townsendi – Townsend’s Warbler. Photo by: Aurora Santiago


These birds have a length of 4.75 – 5 in (12-13 cm) and a weight of 9 g (0.3 oz). Their wings could range from 7.5-8 in (19-20 cm).


Primarily insects. While nesting, it feeds primarily on insects, including caterpillars, true bugs, beetles, and leafhoppers; it also consumes a few spiders, seeds, and plant galls. Additionally, on tropical wintering grounds, feeds on berries and nectar.


Townsend’s Warbler spends the summer in the coniferous forest of the Pacific Northwest. There, males with prominent markings sing from high in the spruces and hemlocks; their buzzy songs are fairly varied, and some sound similar to those of the eastern relative, the Black-throated Green Warbler.


Forages primarily in the upper reaches of trees. Actively searches for insects among twigs, frequently hovering briefly to retrieve objects from the foliage. Occasionally flies out to collect flying insects. Except during the breeding season, frequently feeds in groups with other warblers and small birds.

Setophaga Townsendi Scientific Classification

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

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 Townsend’s Warbler in the USA

From southern Alaska and British Columbia to northern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, this species breeds. Winters in the Pacific coast states from Oregon to the Baja Peninsula and in central Mexico’s inland districts.

Townsend’s Warbler can be found in the following states in the United States – Colorado, Wyoming, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Utah, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Texas.

Setophaga Townsendi – Townsend’s Warbler

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