Townsend's WarblerSetophaga townsendi

adult male
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
immature male (1st winter)
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult female
Joe Fuhrman/VIREO
adult male
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult female
Brian E. Small/VIREO
Townsend's Warbler
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. Wings and tail dusky, with 2 white wing bars and white outer tail feathers. In winter, in male, female, and immature, black bib is replaced by dark streaking and black elsewhere becomes dusky olive.


A rising series of notes, usually with 2 phrases, the first repeated 3 or 4 times, the second once or twice: weazy weazy weazy weazy twea or dee dee dee-de de. Call is a soft chip.


songs #2
songs #1


Coniferous forests; in old stands of Douglas firs, where it forages in the upper canopy.


Breeds from Alaska and British Columbia to northern Washington; Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winters from southwestern California southward.


This warbler is a darker counterpart of the Black-throated Green Warbler, which breeds east of the Rocky Mountains. The pattern of Townsend's plumage is similar to that of the Hermit, Black-throated Gray, and Golden-cheeked warblers; all these warblers are believed to have developed from one ancestral stock.


3-5 white eggs, wreathed and speckled with brownish markings, in a well-concealed shallow cup in a conifer.

Similar Species

adult male

Golden-cheeked Warbler

4 1/2-5" (11-13 cm). Male black, with 2 white wing bars, white belly, and conspicuous yellow face. Female similar, but back olive green with dark streaks.

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 male, breeding

Hermit Warbler

4 1/2" (11 cm). Yellow head; black chin and throat; gray back; white underparts with black-streaked flanks. Gray wings and tail, with white wing bars and outer tail feathers.

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.

adult male,breeding

Black-throated Green Warbler

5" (13 cm). Crown and upperparts olive green, throat and sides of breast black, face yellow. Female similar but duller.


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