Cape May WarblerSetophaga tigrina

adult male, breeding
Adrian & Jane Binns/VIREO
immaturemale (1st winter)
Gerard Bailey/VIREO
adult female, breeding
Joe Fuhrman/VIREO
immature female (1st winter)
Richard Crossley/VIREO
adult male, nonbreeding
Rob Curtis/VIREO
immature male (1st winter)
Rob Curtis/VIREO
immature female (1st winter)
Rob & Ann Simpson/VIREO
adult male, breeding
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult male, breeding
Arthur Morris/VIREO
Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler



5" (13 cm). In breeding plumage, male yellow below with conspicuous chestnut cheek patch; yellow neck patch; white wing patch; yellow rump; heavy black streaks on underparts. Female much duller, with greenish-yellow patch on neck.


Song is 4 or more high thin notes without change in pitch or volume, seet-seet-seet-seet.


songs #2
songs & calls
songs #1


Open spruce forests; during migration, evergreen or deciduous woodlands and often parks or suburban yards.


Breeds from southern Mackenzie, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec south to North Dakota, Michigan, northern New York, Maine, and Nova Scotia. Winters in southern Florida and West Indies.


This warbler gets its name from the fact that the first specimen was collected at Cape May, New Jersey, where it is sometimes a common migrant. During migration these birds show a curious attraction to ornamental spruces.


4 brown-spotted white eggs in a bulky, compact, twig-and-moss nest lined with grass, fur, and feathers.

Similar Species

adult male, breeding

Bay-breasted Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). In breeding plumage, male has chestnut cap, throat, and sides; blackish face; conspicuous pale buff patch on side of neck. Upperparts streaked.

adult male, Myrtle, breeding

Yellow-rumped Warbler

5-6" (13-15 cm). Breeding male dull bluish above, streaked with black; breast and flanks blackish. Rump, crown, and small area at sides of breast yellow.

adult male, breeding

Blackburnian Warbler

5" (13 cm). Breeding male black and white with vivid orange throat, crown patch, and eyebrow; and large white wing patch; female similar, but has yellow throat. Back of both sexes boldly striped.

adult male, breeding

Magnolia Warbler

5" (13 cm). Male bright yellow below with heavy black streaks, black facial patch, large white wing patch, and yellow rump. Female and immature birds similar, but duller.

adult, breeding, Yellow (Eastern)

Palm Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). An olive-drab, streaked, ground-feeding warbler with bright olive rump, bright yellow undertail coverts, and distinctive habit of wagging its tail.

adult male,breeding

Chestnut-sided Warbler

5" (13 cm). Sexes similar: yellow-green crown; long chestnut line on sides; white underparts; streaked back.

adult male

Townsend's Warbler

4 1/4-5" (11-13 cm). Adult male has black crown, nape, ear patch, throat, and bib, and olive green back. Face and breast bright yellow; sides heavily streaked with black; white belly.


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