Magnolia Warbler

Common Name: Magnolia Warbler

Class:  Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Parulidae

Genus: Dendroica

Species: Dendroica magnolia

photo Steven Pitt


The Magnolia Warbler is one of the most striking warblers. The upper parts are blackish with large white patches on the wings and tail. The under parts are yellow, with heavy black stripes almost resembling a long hanging necklace. The female is not as bright as the male and has less distinct black stripes on the chest. This warbler is approximately 12 cm in length and weighs 9-11 grams.


The Magnolia Warbler can be found in damp conifer forests and tends to dwell in lower parts of trees. Its principle foods are insects and forages for food in the lower and middle branches of the trees. It picks insects of the tree needles, bark, trunk, and limbs. In bad weather when insects are hard to find, this warbler will feed on berries.


photo Steven Pitt


The Magnolia Warbler lives by itself or in pairs. This bird is easy to watch because it lives low in the forest and is not very shy. The Magnolia Warbler is energetic and quite active. It is not a very territorial or aggressive bird and does not usually show aggression to other birds. The Magnolia Warbler sings most of the day seemingly to show itself off.

The Magnolia Warbler is monogamous and they create nests in low branches or twigs. The nests are rather messy and are not very stable. The nests are deep to try and protect the eggs from brood parasitism. Usually, these warblers use twigs, weeds, hay, and grass to build their nest with. The Magnolia Warbler has one clutch per year that consists of 3-5 eggs. Females will incubate and the male will help with feeding. The Magnolia Warbler is migratory and will winter in Mexico and the West Indies to Panama.

Where to see them in WNY

Magnolia Warblers can be found in pine forests and upland hardwood forests with conifers. A great place to see them is at Iroquois NWR on the Kanyoo Nature Trail. is a program of Canisius College, Buffalo, NY.                                                  Web Design by Ivan Andrijevic