photo Michael Noonan
The Black-and-white Warbler is a member of
the order Passeriformes which groups together perching birds. It is a member
of the Parulid family which consists of New World Warblers. The Black-and-white Warblers scientific name is Mniotilta varia
which means “variegated moss- plucker”.
The Black-and-white Warbler is a black and
white streaked warbler, as it’s name implies, and it is 11 to 13 cm in
length. Females are generally smaller than males. The average mass of this
warbler is 9 to 15 grams. The Black-and-white Warbler male is streaked with
black and white stripes as well as a striped crown. The females have whiter
under parts and are more of a creamy color.
The Black-and-White Warblers prefer
woodland areas and can often be found creeping on trunks and limbs of trees.
Its main food source is insects that are eaten off of trees such as spiders,
caterpillars, ants, beetles, and larvae. It is the only North American wood
warbler to that regularly forages on bark.
The Black-and-white Warbler is generally a
solitary bird and is diurnal (active during the day). This warbler is also
very territorial and defends its space through aggression towards other
warblers. The Black-and-white Warbler is a migratory bird ranging from
Canada to northern South America.
The Black-and-white Warbler mates in
monogamous pair bonds. The female builds a cup nest on the ground near the
base of a tree or fallen log and is concealed under dead leaves. The nest is
made of leaves and coarse grass. The female lays 4-6 eggs a clutch and the
female usually incubates which last about 10 days. Both parents feed the young which fledge 8 to 12 days
after hatching. There is usually only one brood per year.
Where to see them
The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see
these warblers. Both Swallow Hollow Nature Trail as well as Kanyoo Nature
Trail are great places. Find an area where there are upland hardwood trees
and start looking on the trunks and on the limbs.