- This article refers to the New World wood warbler family of birds, the Parulidae. For the Eurasian species Phylloscopus sibilatrix, see Wood Warbler.
|New World warblers|
| Common Yellowthroat|
|Clade:||Blackbird and warbler group|
Wetmore et al., 1947
The New World warblers or wood-warblers are a group of small, often colorful, passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are not related to the Old World warblers (Sylviidae) or the Australian warblers.
It is likely that this group originated in northern Central America, which remains with the greatest diversity and numbers of species. From thence they spread north during the interglacial periods, mainly as migrants, returning to the ancestral region in winter. Two genera, Myioborus and Basileuterus seem to have colonised South America early, perhaps before the two continents were linked, and provide most warbler species of that region.
Many migratory species, particularly those breeding further north, have distinctive male plumage at least in the breeding season, since males need to reclaim territory and advertise for mates each year. This tendency is particularly marked in the large genus Dendroica. In contrast, resident tropical species, which pair for life, show little if any sexual dimorphism.
There are of course exceptions. The Parkesia waterthrushes and Ovenbird are strongly migratory, but have identical male and female plumage, whereas the mainly tropical and sedentary yellowthroats are dimorphic.
All the warblers are fairly small. The smallest species is the Lucy's Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae), at about 6.5 grams and 10.6 cm (4.2 in). The largest species depends upon the true taxonomy of the family. Traditionally, it was listed as Yellow-breasted Chat, at 18.2 cm (7.2 in). Since this may not be parulid, the Parkesia waterthrushes, the Ovenbird, the Russet-crowned Warbler and Semper's Warbler, all of which can exceed 15 cm (6 in) and 21 grams, could be considered the largest.
The migratory species tend to lay larger clutches of eggs, typically up to six, since the hazards of their journeys mean that many individuals will have only one chance to breed. In contrast, two eggs is typical for many tropical species, since the chicks can be provided with better care, and the adults are likely to have further opportunities for reproduction.
The scientific name for the family, Parulidae, originates from the fact that Linnaeus in 1758 named the Northern Parula as a tit, Parus americanus, and, as taxonomy developed, the genus name was modified first to Parulus and then the current Parula. The family name, of course, derives from that genus.
There are a number of issues in the taxonomy and systematics of the Parulidae.
- The New World warblers are closely related to the tanagers, and some species like the conebills Conirostrum and the Bananaquit have been placed into either group by different authorities. Currently, the conebills are normally placed in Thraupidae and the Bananaquit in its own family.
- Green-tailed Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, and White-winged Warbler are other species where there have been questions as to whether they should be considered as warblers or tanagers.
- The Pardusco, Nephelornis oneilli is also of uncertain affinities
Genera and species
- Genus Parkesia - Waterthrushes
- Genus Vermivora
- Genus Oreothlypis
- Genus Leiothlypis
- Genus Geothlypis
- MacGillivray's Warbler, Geothlypis tolmiei
- Mourning Warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia
- Kentucky Warbler, Geothlypis formosus
- Grey-crowned Yellowthroat, Geothlypis poliocephala
- Masked Yellowthroat, Geothlypis aequinoctialis
- Black-lored Yellowthroat, Geothlypis auricularis
- Southern Yellowthroat, Geothlypis velata
- Black-polled Yellowthroat, Geothlypis speciosa
- Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, Geothlypis semiflava
- Baird's Yellowthroat, Geothlypis bairdi
- Chiriqui Yellowthroat, Geothlypis chiriquensis
- Belding's Yellowthroat, Geothlypis beldingi
- Bahama Yellowthroat, Geothlypis rostrata
- Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
- Altamira Yellowthroat, Geothlypis flavovelata
- Hooded Yellowthroat, Geothlypis nelsoni
- Genus "Dendroica"
- Genus Setophaga
- American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
- Kirtland's Warbler, Setophaga kirtlandii
- Cape May Warbler, Setophaga tigrina
- Cerulean Warbler, Setophaga cerulea
- Northern Parula, Setophaga americana
- Tropical Parula, Setophaga pitiayumi
- Magnolia Warbler, Setophaga magnolia
- Bay-breasted Warbler, Setophaga castanea
- Blackburnian Warbler, Setophaga fusca
- Yellow Warbler / American Yellow Warbler, Setophaga petechia
- Blackpoll Warbler, Setophaga striata
- Chestnut-sided Warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica
- Black-throated Blue Warbler, Setophaga caerulescens
- Palm Warbler, Setophaga palmarum
- Pine Warbler, Setophaga pinus
- Olive-capped Warbler, Setophaga pityophila
- Yellow-throated Warbler, Setophaga dominica
- Bahama Warbler, Setophaga flavescens
- Myrtle Warbler / Yellow-rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata
- Audubon's Warbler, Setophaga auduboni
- Black-fronted Warbler, Setophaga auduboni nigrifrons
- Goldman's Warbler, Setophaga goldmani
- Prairie Warbler, Setophaga discolor
- Vitelline Warbler, Setophaga vitellina
- Adelaide's Warbler, Setophaga adelaidae
- Barbuda Warbler, Setophaga subita
- St. Lucia Warbler, Setophaga delicata
- Black-throated Gray Warbler, Setophaga nigrescens
- Grace's Warbler, Setophaga graciae
- Townsend's Warbler, Setophaga townsendi
- Hermit Warbler, Setophaga occidentalis
- Black-throated Green Warbler, Setophaga virens
- Golden-cheeked Warbler, Setophaga chrysoparia
- Genus Myiothlypis
- Roraiman Warbler, Myiothlypis roraimae
- Two-banded Warbler, Myiothlypis bivittata
- Golden-bellied Warbler / Cuzco Warbler, Myiothlypis chrysogaster
- White-lored Warbler, Myiothlypis conspicillata
- Grey-throated Warbler, Myiothlypis cinereicollis
- Russet-crowned Warbler, Myiothlypis coronata
- Grey-and-gold Warbler, Myiothlypis fraseri
- Citrine Warbler, Myiothlypis luteoviridis
- White-striped Warbler, Myiothlypis leucophrys
- Flavescent Warbler, Myiothlypis flaveola
- White-browed Warbler / White-rimmed Warbler, Myiothlypis leucoblephara
- Grey-headed Warbler, Myiothlypis griseiceps
- Buff-rumped Warbler, Myiothlypis fulvicauda
- Riverbank Warbler, Myiothlypis rivularis
- Black-crested Warbler, Myiothlypis nigrocristata
- Pale-legged Warbler, Myiothlypis signata
- Genus Basileuterus
- Rufous-capped Warbler, Basileuterus rufifrons
- Golden-browed Warbler, Basileuterus belli
- Black-cheeked Warbler, Basileuterus melanogenys
- Pirre Warbler, Basileuterus ignotus
- Golden-crowned Warbler / White-bellied Warbler, Basileuterus culicivorus
- Three-banded Warbler, Basileuterus trifasciatus
- Three-striped Warbler, Basileuterus tristriatus
- Santa Marta Warbler, Basileuterus basilicus
- Genus Cardellina
- Genus Myioborus (often, less accurately, named as redstarts, but they have conspicuous white, not red, feathers on the tail sides)
- Painted Redstart / Painted Whitestart, Myioborus pictus
- Slated-throated Redstart / Slate-throated Whitestart, Myioborus miniatus
- Brown-capped Redstart / Brown-capped Whitestart, Myioborus brunniceps
- Yellow-crowned Redstart / Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Myioborus flavivertex
- White-fronted Redstart / White-fronted Whitestart, Myioborus albifrons
- Golden-fronted Redstart / Golden-fronted Whitestart, Myioborus ornatus
- Spectacled Redstart / Spectacled Whitestart, Myioborus melanocephalus
- Collared Redstart / Collared Whitestart, Myioborus torquatus
- Paria Redstart / Paria Whitestart, Myioborus pariae
- White-faced Redstart / White-faced Whitestart, Myioborus albifacies
- Saffron-breasted Redstart / Saffron-breasted Whitestart, Myioborus cardonai
- Tepui Redstart / Tepui Whitestart, Myioborus castaneocapillus
- Green-tailed Warbler or Green-tailed Ground Warbler, Microligea palustris (Not a parulid)
- Semper's Warbler, Leucopeza semperi (possibly related to Teretistris and if so not a parulid)
- Wrenthrush, Zeledonia coronata (Not a parulid)
- Yellow-breasted Chat, Icteria virens (Not a parulid)
- White-winged Warbler, Xenoligea montana (Not a parulid)
- Curson, Quinn and Beadle, 1994. New World Warblers. 252 p. ISBN 0-7136-3932-6
- Lovette, I. J. and E. Bermingham. 2002. What is a wood-warbler? Molecular characterization of a monophyletic Parulidae. The Auk. 119(3): 695-714. PDF fulltext
- Crane Creek Warblers
- New World Warblers (Parulidae) information, including 81 species with videos and 100 with photographs at the Internet Bird Collection
- Chasing Down Warblers National Geographic News story on seeing 30 warbler species in May
- Dunn, Jon. 1997. A field guide to warblers of North America. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., x, 656 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 19 cm.
- Morse, Douglass H. 1989. American warblers : an ecological and behavioral perspective. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, xii, 406 p. : ill., maps.
- Harrison, Hal H. 1984. Wood warblers’ world. New York : Simon and Schuster, 335 p., 24 p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.
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