Lucy's WarblerOreothlypis luciae

adult male
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult female
Rob Curtis/VIREO
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult male
Rob Curtis/VIREO
Lucy's Warbler
Lucy's Warbler



4" (10 cm). A small, plain warbler with white eye ring. Both sexes gray above, creamy white below, with bright chestnut rump. Chestnut crown feathers usually concealed, except in display. In fall, underside buff but undertail coverts white. Immatures have buff rump.


Song reminiscent of that of Yellow Warbler: chit chit chit chit sweeta che-che-che. Call is a soft plenk, often run into a series.


songs #3
songs #2
songs #1


Southwestern deserts, especially among cottonwoods and streamside trees and mesquite in washes or canyons.


Breeds from California, Nevada and Utah south to southern Arizona and New Mexico. Winters south of U.S.-Mexico border.


The only desert warbler, Lucy's is characterized by a flicking tail, rapid motions, and a rich song.


4 or 5 white, speckled eggs in a well-lined cup nest in a tree, placed under loose bark or in a hole-a rare nest site among warblers.

Similar Species

adult male, breeding, Eastern

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). Smaller than a sparrow. Tiny, slender, long-tailed bird, blue-gray above and white below, with white eye ring and broad white borders on black tail.

adult, breeding

California Gnatcatcher

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). A tiny bird. Gray above, paler below. Male has black crown during summer that extends below eyes. Long black tail, with little white on outermost feathers.

adult male

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). A tiny bird similar to Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Gray above, whitish below. Male has black crown during summer that extends to eyes.

adult male

Black-capped Gnatcatcher

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). Similar to Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, but black cap of adult male more extensive; 2 outer tail feathers wholly white.

adult male

Red-faced Warbler

5 1/4" (13 cm). Gray above, white below, with bright red forehead, throat, and breast; black crown and ear patch; white nape patch and rump.

adult male

American Redstart

4 1/2-5 1/2" (11-14 cm). Male black with bright orange patches on wings and tail; white belly. Females and young birds dull olive-brown above, white below, with yellow wing and tail patches.

adult male, Pacific

Orange-crowned Warbler

4 1/2-5 1/2" (11-14 cm). Olive green above with orange crown feathers, which usually remain hidden. Olive-yellow underparts with very faint breast streaking. No eye ring or wing bars.


Colima Warbler

5" (13 cm). Gray above, with chestnut crown patch and olive-yellow rump. Whitish below, with yellow undertail patch. Narrow eye ring, no wing bars.

adult male

Virginia's Warbler

4-4 1/4" (10-11 cm). Male gray above, with yellow breast, rump, and undertail coverts. Throat and belly white. Chestnut crown patch and white eye ring visible at close range. Female is duller.

adult male


4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Smaller than a chickadee, a little larger than a Bushtit. Gray with yellow head and throat; chestnut patch at bend of wing; white underparts.

adult male


3 3/4-4" (10 cm). Gray above with light underparts; small bill; and relatively long tail. Pacific Coast birds have brown crown, pale ear patch; Rocky Mountain birds have gray crown, brown ear patch.


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