Black-and-white WarblerMniotilta varia

adult male, breeding
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult female
Gerard Bailey/VIREO
adult male, nonbreeding
Gerard Bailey/VIREO
immature male (1st year)
Gerard Bailey/VIREO
adult male, breeding
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult male, breeding
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler



5" (13 cm). Black and white stripes, including crown. Male has black throat; female's throat white. Creeps on tree trunks and branches


A thin, high-pitched, monotonous weesy-weesy-weesy-weesy, like a squeaky wheelbarrow.


two males counter-singing
complex songs #1
alarm chips
songs #2
songs #1
complex songs #2


Primary and secondary forests, chiefly deciduous. During migration, parks, gardens, and lawn areas with trees and shrubs.


Breeds from southern Mackenzie, northern Alberta, and central Manitoba east to Newfoundland, and south to southern United States east of Rockies. Winters from southern parts of Gulf Coast states southward.


This conspicuous warbler arrives in the North early in spring, usually by mid- to late April. It is known for its habit of creeping around tree trunks and along larger branches in search of insect food in crevices in or under the bark; hence its old name, "Black-and-white Creeper." Unlike the Brown Creeper, which only moves up a tree, this species can climb in any direction.


4 or 5 purple-spotted white eggs in a ground nest composed of leaves, grass, and rootlets, and lined with hair and fern down. Nest is found at the base of a tree, stump, or rock.

Similar Species

adult male, breeding

Black-throated Gray Warbler

4 1/2-5" (11-13 cm). Head striped black and white; black bib on throat; white below, with black stripes on sides; gray back, with black striping; 2 white wing bars and white outer tail feathers.

adult male, breeding

Blackpoll Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Breeding male gray streaked above, with black cap, white cheeks and underparts, blackish streaks on sides.


Bridled Titmouse

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). Warbler-sized. Gray above, whitish below, with gray crest bordered with black and a "bridle" joining eye line and throat patch.

adult, Eastern

Black-capped Chickadee

4 3/4-5 3/4" (12-15 cm). Black cap and throat, white cheeks, gray back, dull white underparts. Wing feathers narrowly and indistinctly edged with white. Difficult to separate from Carolina Chickadee.


Brown Creeper

5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm). Smaller than a sparrow. A slender, streaked, brown bird, tinged with buff on flanks, usually seen creeping up tree trunks, using long, stiff tail for support.


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