Palm WarblerSetophaga palmarum

adult, breeding, Yellow (Eastern)
Johann Schumacher/VIREO
adult, molting to breeding plumage, Western
James M. Wedge/VIREO
adult, breeding, Western
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding, Western
Rob Curtis/VIREO
immature, Yellow (Eastern)
Johann Schumacher/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding, Yellow (Eastern)
Richard Crossley/VIREO
Palm Warbler
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. Underparts vary from yellow to whitish buff, depending on age and geography; adults in spring have rufous cap.


Weak dry trill, like that of Chipping Sparrow but slower.


songs #2
alarm chips
songs #1


In summer, bogs in the North; during migration, open places, especially weedy fields and borders of marshes.


Breeds from west-central Canada east to Labrador and Newfoundland, and south to extreme northern portions of United States. Winters from southeastern United States southward.


The Palm Warbler is one of the first warblers to arrive in the spring, and at this season is commonly found feeding quietly on the ground, sometimes with flocks of sparrows. It is unusual among warblers of the genus Dendroica in nesting on the ground; the only other species that does this is the rare Kirtland's Warbler.


4 or 5 brown-speckled white eggs in a grass nest fashioned with shreds of bark and lined with feathers and rootlets. Nest is placed on the ground in a grass clump, often at the base of a small tree or bush.

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

Kirtland's Warbler

6" (15 cm). A large warbler, gray above with black streaks; yellow below with black streaks on sides; black cheeks with conspicuous white eye ring. Female similar but duller. Bobs its tail.

adult male

Pine Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Unstreaked olive above, with yellow throat and breast; blurry streaking below; white belly; inconspicuous eye stripe; 2 white wing bars.

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

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.


Swainson's Warbler

5" (13 cm). A plain warbler, olive-brown above and whitish beneath, with rufous cap and whitish line over eye.

adult male, breeding

Tennessee Warbler

5" (13 cm). In spring, male greenish above, white below, with gray cap, white line over eye, dusky line through eye. In fall, olive above, yellowish below.


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