Male Hooded Warbler

Look who showed up in my yard today!

The oldest recorded Hooded Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 1 month old when he was recaptured and re released during banding operations in Louisiana in 2004. Considered vulnerable because it is often parasitized by cowbirds, especially where forest is broken up into small patches, and because it favors undergrowth of tropical forest for wintering.

 The Hooded Warbler is strongly territorial on its wintering grounds. Males and females use different habitats: males in mature forest, and females in scrubbier forest and seasonally flooded areas. If a male is removed, a female in adjacent scrub will not move into the male’s territory. Males usually return to occupy the same nesting territory as in previous years, but females usually move to a different territory. Nest: Female chooses site in patches of deciduous shrubs within forest or along edge. Site usually 1-4′ above ground. Nest is open cup of dead leaves, bark, fine grasses, spiderwebs, hair, and plant down. Usually the female does most or all of the building.

In the forest undergrowth, this skulking warbler seems to call attention to itself by frequently fanning its tail quickly open and shut, flashing the white outer tail feathers. Hooded Warblers are common in moist leafy woodlands of the Southeast. They usually stay low in the shadowy understory, foraging actively in the bushes and nesting close to the ground, although males will move up into the trees to sing.

Hops on ground, low branches, or tree trunks while feeding, often gleaning insects from leaf surfaces in low shrubs. Will also make short flights to catch flying insects in the understory. Males may forage higher than females when feeding young. Both sexes maintain well-defined feeding territories during winter, giving conspicuous chip callnotes and attacking intruders of their own species.

Fed by both parents. Young leave the nest 8-9 days after hatching, and can fly 2-3 days later. Fledglings are divided by parents, each adult caring for half the brood for up to 5 weeks. Often 2 broods per year.

It’s diet is Insects and other arthropods. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, beetles, flies, and many others; also eats many small spiders.

Photos by Jeff

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