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MacGillivray's Warbler - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by revs45
North Vancouver, BC, Canada, June 2010
Geothlypis tolmiei

Oporornis tolmiei


Photo © by digishooter
Wofford Heights, California, USA, June 2018

13 cm; (5.25 ins)

  • Olive-green upperparts
  • Yellow underparts
  • White crescents above and below the eyes
  • Slate-grey hood with black lores
  • Black upper breast
  • Flesh-coloured lower mandible.

Female: similar but paler

  • Winter adult has paler hood and less distinct eye-ring.

First winter birds

  • Similar to adults with olive-grey back and wings, greenish underside and most of the same hood
  • White throat area
  • Thin pale to white supraloral
  • Eye-ring is thin
  • Hood color cleaner grey in male, more olive in female
  • Gradually moults into full adult plumage

Similar Species

Mourning Warbler lacks the white eye crescents.

Hybrids between the 2 species occur where the range overlaps.


Breeds in the western United States and Canada from southern Northwest Territories south to central California, Utah and Colorado, scattered populations south and east of regular range; wintering on the Pacific slope of Mexico.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Subspecies monticola is not recognised by most authorities.

Hybridizes with Mourning Warbler where ranges overlap.
Formerly placed in genus Oporornis.


Coniferous forest edges, burns, dense thickets, and streamside growth.



May to August at up to 300m in dense understory along forest edges and clearings. The nest is a cup of plant stalks and grasses, lined with rootlets, hair and fine grasses, and concealed low down in a bush. 3-6 eggs are incubated for 11-13 days, young fledge after 8-9 days. Nests are only rarely parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbird.


Almost entirely insects and other arthropods, including beetles, caterpillars and leafhoppers. Forages low in dense shrub cover.


  • Song: 3-4 tchee notes in one pitch, then 2-3 more warbles teeoo notes at a lower pitch.
  • Call: a hard shik or tsik; flight call is a penetrating tseep


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Dunn, Jon; Garrett, Kimball. 1997. A Field Guide to Warblers of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 9780395783214
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved April 2016)
  5. Avibase
  6. Birdforum thread discussing the id of a young MacGillivray's Warbler

Recommended Citation

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