Black-throated Gray WarblerSetophaga nigrescens

adult male, breeding
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult female
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult male,breeding
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
immature male (1st spring)
Garth McElroy/VIREO
adult male, breeding
Bob Steele/VIREO
Black-throated Gray Warbler
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. Yellow spot between bill and eyes. Winter male, female, and juvenile lack black bib.


Song a series of buzzes, rising in pitch and intensity, then falling: zee zee zee zee bzz bzz. Call is a dull tup.


songs #2
songs #3
songs #1


Shrubby openings in coniferous forest or mixed woods, dry scrub oak, pinyon and juniper, chaparral, and other low brushy areas; also in forests.


Breeds from southern British Columbia (except Vancouver Island), Washington, Idaho, and Colorado southward. Winters in Southwest and in Mexico.


This bird resembles Townsend's Warbler in every respect except that it lacks the green and yellow colors of the latter. Whereas the bright plumage of Townsend's blends well with the bright green of the spruces and pines of the coastal forest, the drab appearance of the Black-throated Gray is a good adaptation to the bluish gray-green of western junipers.


3-5 creamy white eggs, splashed with brown, in a tightly woven plant-fiber cup in a bush or tree, usually not higher than 10' (3 m).

Similar Species

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.

adult male, breeding

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

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.


Carolina Chickadee

4-5" (10-13 cm). Similar to more northern Black-capped Chickadee, but feathers of folded wing usually show less white edging; lower edge of black bib more sharply defined than that of Black-capped.

adult, fresh plumage

Mountain Chickadee

5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm). Similar to Black-capped Chickadee, but with white eyebrow and pale gray flanks.


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