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Also known as the "Golden Swamp Warbler". The male is gold and has blue-grey wings, the female appears slightly duller. 13 cm long and weighs 12.5 g. Its back is olive with a blue-grey tail, yellow underparts, a relatively long pointed bill and black legs. The adult male has a bright orange-yellow head; females and immature birds are duller and have a yellow head. ' The call is a tsweet, twseet, twseet, twseet.
Main breeding range from southwest Iowa east to Ohio south to eastern Texas east to Alabama and from southern New Jersey south to northern Florida. Mostly absent from the Appalachians. Small local populations in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. It winters in the West Indies, Central America and northern South America. Rare vagrant to California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
Wooded swamps and other wet deciduous habitats. The preferred foraging habitat is dense, woody streams.
This bird forages in low foliage for snails and insects. It makes its nest in a cavity, sometimes using old holes from the Downy Woodpecker. The male makes several incomplete nests while the female makes the nest which is to be used.
The Prothonotary Warbler forages actively in low foliage, mainly for insects and snails. It breeds in hardwood swamps, nesting in a cavity, sometimes using old Downy Woodpecker holes. The male often builds several incomplete unused nests in his territory; the female builds the real nest.
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