Prairie WarblerSetophaga discolor

adult male
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult female
George L. Armistead/VIREO
immature female (1st winter)
James M. Wedge/VIREO
adult male
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult female with fledgling
Brian Henry/VIREO
Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warbler



5" (13 cm). Olive above, bright yellow below, with black spots and streaks along sides; male has chestnut streaks on back. Female and immature have fewer streaks. Bobs its tail vigorously.


Buzzy zee-zee-zee, up to 10 rapidly ascending notes.


chips & song
songs #1
songs #3
songs #2
alarm chips


Not found on prairies. In the North, mixed pine-oak barrens, old pastures, and hillsides with scattered red cedars; in the South, open scrub; in extreme southern Florida, mangrove swamps.


Breeds from eastern Nebraska, central Wisconsin, southern Ontario, and central New England south to Oklahoma, Gulf Coast, and Florida; local in many areas. Winters in southern Florida and in tropics.


This species avoids thick woods and has benefited greatly from the cutting and burning of the forests, which favors the younger seedlings and smaller bushes that sprout after fires. Like the Palm Warbler, it forages in low undergrowth, rarely ascending higher than 10 feet (3 meters).


4 brown-spotted white eggs in a nest of grass and leaves lined with hair and feathers, usually set low in a bush or small tree.

Similar Species

adult male, Central

Yellow-throated Warbler

5" (13 cm). Gray, unstreaked upperparts, bright yellow throat, white belly, black-and-white facial pattern, heavy black streaks on sides. Sexes alike.

adult male

Grace's Warbler

4 1/2-5" (11-13 cm).

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, 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 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.


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