The Canada Warbler has a bright yellow chin and belly, with black-blue feathers on top if male, and light grey if female. Males have black feather streaks that create a checkerboard across their chest, and the female has the same pattern, but lighter in colour. Their bold white eye rings are a useful identification feature for both sexes. The Canada Warbler can usually be located by its loud, distinctive song that starts with a chirp, followed by a series of warbling notes that end in a higher pitch. The Canada Warbler keeps its plumage all year round.
Canada Warblers catch insects off the ground or low in vegetation like shrubs either by snatching them from the air- which is called flycatching, or picking them off leaves and from crevices, which is called gleaning. Their diet consists of beetles, flies, caterpillars, spiders and mosquitoes.
Biology and Behaviour:
Adults return from winter migration to their breeding ground from mid-May to mid-June. They generally choose one mate each year, and raise one brood of offspring. The female builds a cup-shaped nest out of leaves, grasses, ferns and bark on the ground or on stumps and logs, usually close to a stream. They lay 4-5 eggs which they incubate for about 12 days, and once hatched the mother will remain in the nest for another 10 days while the male collects food.
- The Kentucky Warbler is similar but has only half an eyering, greenish upperparts, and lacks the black chest markings.
- Northern Parula has white wing bars and a white belly.
- Kirtland’s Warbler has black streaking on its sides and flanks, and dark streaks on its back.
Conservation and recovery strategies:
The main focus for the federal recovery strategy is to improve the knowledge gaps for this species through research projects. To better assist in population recovery, more information is needed about migratory patterns, habitat use, and the suspected threats to Canada Warblers and their prey. Other objectives include a policy review of window designs to help reduce collisions, and ensuring compliance with the Migratory Birds Convention Act and other Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) for this species.
Bezener, A. 2000. Birds of Ontario.
Environment Canada. 2016. Recovery Strategy for the Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. vii + 56 pp.
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