Golden-winged warbler | American birds

   ›      ›   Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera

The golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) belongs to the family of New World warblers, the Parulidae.

The golden-winged warbler is distributed in USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Caribbean islands. These species hybridize with blue-winged warblers. These warblers are monotypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Golden-winged Warbler Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is a small New World warbler, measuring 11 to 12 cm in length and weighing 7 to 12 grams.

The male golden-winged warbler has bright golden-yellow patch on the forecrown. There is also a golden patch on the wing. There is a black throat patch and an black ear patch. There is a white supercilium.

The upperparts are bluish gray and the underparts are whitish gray. In females, the black patches are replaced by grayish patches.

The steel-gray bill is slender and sharp pointed. The legs are gray. The irises are blackish. There is a gray eye-ring. Their call is a trilling buzzy note or a buzzy "chip.. chip" sound.
Bird World - Image of Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
1.Bird World - Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
Image by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Bird World - Image of Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
2.Bird World - Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
Image by Bettina Arrigoni

Bird World - Image of Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
3.Bird World - Golden-winged warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
Image by Kent McFarland

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The golden-winged warbler is distributed in northern USA, southern Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and several Caribbean islands.

Vagrant birds have been recorded in United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Sint Maarten (Netherlands), Barbados, Curaçao (Netherlands) and French Polynesia.

Ecosystem and habitat

The golden-winged warbler species have moderate forest dependence. They normally occurs in altitudes between 0 to 2000 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include pasturelands.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these warbler species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, temperate forests, grasslands and shrublands, moist shrublands and wetlands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these golden-winged warbler species consists mainly of insects. Larval insects, insects, moths, caterpillars, grasshoppers and spiders are their primary food.

They mostly forage for insects in the middle and lower canopy. They occasionally descent to the floor to feed on insects and small invertebrates.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the golden-winged warbler species is from May to July in most of their breeding range. These birds are monogamous and nest solitarily. The breeding habitat is on the ground, hidden in bushes.

The nest is a bulky cup made with grass, rootlets and plant fiber. It is lined with hair, fine grass, shreds of bark and fine rootlets.

These species hybridize with blue-winged warbler to form two distinctive hybrids, the genetically dominant Brewster's warbler and the genetically recessive Lawrence's warbler.

Migration and movement patterns

These warbler species are fully migratory birds. The breeding populations occur in northern USA and southern Canada. They migrate to the wintering grounds in August and September.

The wintering populations of these species are distributed in Central America from southern Mexico to Panama, Caribbean islands and northern parts of South America. The return migration occurs in early summer.

Golden-winged warbler - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Vermivora chrysoptera
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Motacilla chrysoptera Linnaeus, 1766
  • Family: Parulidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Golden-winged warbler, Chinese: 金翅虫森莺, French: Paruline à ailes dorées, German: Goldflügel-Waldsänger, Spanish: Reinita alidorada, Russian: Золотистокрылая червеедка, Japanese: キンバネアメリカムシクイ
  • Other names: Golden-winged Warbler
  • Distribution: North America, South America
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, larval insects, caterpillars, spiders
  • IUCN status listing: Near Threatened (NT)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be uncommon. The generation length is 3.8 years. Its distribution size is about 2,080,000

Ecosystem degradation, ecosystem conversion, severe weather, climate change and agricultural expansion are the main threats that may endanger the survival of the warbler species.

IUCN and CITES status

The golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) species is approaching the thresholds for being Vulnerable under the range size criterion, under the population trend criterion and under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the species and has listed it as "Near Threatened".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera).

Taxonomy and scientific classification of Vermivora chrysoptera
Species:V. chrysoptera
Binomial name:Vermivora chrysoptera
IUCN status listing: Near Threatened
The golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is closely related to the blue-winged warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera).
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1.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: California Department of Fish and Wildlife | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 11/3/18
2.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Bettina Arrigoni | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 11/3/18
3.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Kent McFarland | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 as on 11/3/18
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