Monday, October 25, 2021

Warbler Guy, are there any New World warblers that occur in their own family and where shall I look?


Hello Jeremy (in Toledo, OH):

Indeed, there the Olive Warbler, Peucedramus taeniatus,  is a small passerine bird. It is the only New World warbler species member of the genus Peucedramus in its own family, the Peucedramidae.

Breeding from southern Arizona through New Mexico and south into Mexico and Nicaragua, the Olive Warbler is the only member of the genus Peucedramus and the family Peucedramidae. All our other New World warblers in the continental USA are in the Parulidae family (except for rare to occasional vagrant sightings of Old World Warbler sightings — among them being Arctic and Dusky Warbler).

The Olive Warbler status in its one-member family is distinctive in that it's the only bird family endemic to North America (including Central America). Before it was classified into its current family, this warbler was considered a Parulidae, but DNA studies suggest that it split early in its evolutionary history from the other related passerines prior to the differentiation of the entire New World warbler/American sparrow/Icterid group.

Where should you look for this species?

Like many other New World warblers, it is an insectivorous species of coniferous forests.
According to the iBird Pro app I used to interpret its distribution range, Olive Warbler is restricted to breeding in central/east-central Arizona and a small portion of southwestern New Mexico. It's non-breeding season range includes southern Arizona most of western Mexico and a restricted area of northeastern Mexico immediately south of Texas.

Though it is often said to be non-migratory, most New Mexican birds typically leave the state from November to late February.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Warbler Guy, given I live in the SF Bay Area, which warbler species are the most common to see during the non-breeding season (i.e., overwintering species)?


Good question, Sheehi (in Fairfield).

In general, in correct habitat, below I list the order (from most common to rarest) for abundance of wood-warbler species in the SF Bay Area during the non-breeding season. I suggest only the initial two on the following list — Yellow-rumped and Common Yellowthroat — are common to detect throughout the SF Bay Area during the non-breeding season:

(Orange-crowned Warbler, above, a common SF Bay breeding species, but rare to absent during the non-breeding season)

1. Yellow-rumped Warbler

2. Common Yellowthroat

3. Depending on which habitat you visit, the next most common species to detect could be:

Orange-crowned Warbler (strongest contender for the 3rd spot; see above photo)
Hermit Warbler (rare to absent during the non-breeding season)
Wilson's Warbler (rare to absent during the non-breeding season)
Palm Warbler (seen annually during the non-breeding months, but never common in the SF Bay
Area during the "winter" months.....most common seen in during autumn migration along the coast, especially within Point Reyes National Seashore)
Black-throated Gray Warbler (rare, but annually seen during the winter, and, if so, during the West Marin Christmas Bird Count, for example)
Nashville Warbler (rare to absent during the non-breeding season; typically a transient in the SF Bay Area; does not nest here)

Regards, Daniel
(hosts information about my 25+ years of Wildlife Biology services, in addition to my bird tours via the "Bird Tours" tab)