MacGillivray's WarblerGeothlypis tolmiei

adult male
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult female
Brian E. Small/VIREO
immature female (1st winter)
Joe Fuhrman/VIREO
adult male
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
MacGillivray's Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler



4 3/4-5 1/2" (12-14 cm). Slate gray hood extending to upper breast, where it darkens to black. Olive green above, yellow below; female slightly paler. Both sexes have broken white eye ring. In fall, hood lighter, broken eye ring less distinct.


Song a chanting tree tree tree tree sweet sweet! Call a loud tik, sharper than the calls of most other western warblers.


songs #1
songs #3
songs #2
songs #4


Coniferous forest edges, burns, brushy cuts, or second-growth alder thickets and streamside growth.


Breeds from Alaska and Yukon south to California and central New Mexico. Winters in tropics.


MacGillivray's is a common western warbler. Two similarly hooded warblers occur east of the Rockies, the Connecticut Warbler and the Mourning Warbler. No doubt these all originated from a common "hooded warbler" forebear during the vicissitudes of the past Ice Age, when during warm interglacial periods the forests expanded, only to be split again when the cold grip of the glaciers returned.


3-5 white eggs, with brown spotting, in a grassy cup nest close to the ground in a bush or tall weeds.

Similar Species

adult male, Interior

Common Yellowthroat

4 1/2-6" (11-15 cm). Olive-brown above, bright yellow on throat and upper breast. Male has bold black mask, bordered above with white.

adult male

Connecticut Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Olive green above, dull yellow below; head, throat, and upper breast gray in males and dull brownish in females. Has conspicuous, unbroken white eye ring. No wing bars.

adult male

Mourning Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Similar to Connecticut Warbler: olive above and bright yellow below with a gray hood; no eye ring. Male has black patch below throat; female has gray throat.

adult male

Nashville Warbler

4-5" (10-13 cm). Olive green above, bright yellow below, with top and sides of head gray, narrow white eye ring, and inconspicuous patch of rust on crown.

adult male

Hooded Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Olive above, yellow below. Male has yellow face, black hood and black throat. Female lacks hood or has only a trace of it. Both sexes have white tail spots. See Bachman's Warbler.


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