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Tropical Parula

From Opus

MalePhoto by iberaEsteros del Ibera, Argentina, April 2007
Photo by ibera
Esteros del Ibera, Argentina, April 2007
Setophaga pitiayumi

Parula pitiayumi


[edit] Identification

11 cm (4.3 ins). Blue-gray upperparts, green back patch, two white wingbars, yellow underparts, becoming orange on the breast. The male has a black patch from the bill to behind the eye. Females are slightly duller, and lack black on the head. The immature has dull plumage, lacks the wing bars, and has a gray band on the breast.

[edit] Similar Species

Northern Parula is very similar, except it has white eye crescents, and the male does not have the black patch on the face. Hybrids are frequent in Texas, so caution is warranted.

[edit] Distribution

Southernmost Texas, northwest Mexico, south through Central America to northern Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and Ecuador.

Flight image showing white behind the legs, yellow in front, and orange on upper breast and throatPhoto by NJLarsenVolcan Lakes, Chiriqui, Panama, February 2018
Flight image showing white behind the legs, yellow in front, and orange on upper breast and throat
Photo by NJLarsen
Volcan Lakes, Chiriqui, Panama, February 2018

[edit] Taxonomy

There are 14 subspecies,1 with a wide range of plumage tones.

  • S. p. alarum (Chapman, 1924)
  • S. p. cirrha (Wetmore, 1957)
  • S. p. elegans (Todd, 1912)
  • S. p. graysoni (Ridgway, 1887) - endemic to Socorro Island, in the Revillagigedo Islands, 386 km southwest of Cabo San Lucas
  • S. p. inornata (S. F. Baird, 1864)
  • S. p. insularis (Lawrence, 1871) - Tres MarĂ­as Islands, 100 km (60 miles) off the coast of the state of Nayarit, Mexico
  • S. p. melanogenys (Todd, 1924)
  • S. p. nana (Griscom, 1927)
  • S. p. nigrilora (Coues, 1878) - Texas and eastern Mexico
  • S. p. pacifica (Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1884)
  • S. p. pitiayumi (Vieillot, 1817)
  • S. p. pulchra (Brewster, 1889) - western Mexico
  • S. p. roraimae (Chapman, 1929)
  • S. p. speciosa (Ridgway, 1902)
Male showing the distinctive green back patchPhoto by JamfaracoLages-SC, Brazil, April 2005
Male showing the distinctive green back patch
Photo by Jamfaraco
Lages-SC, Brazil, April 2005

Formerly placed in genus Parula.

[edit] Habitat

Subtropical hill forests - coniferous and mixed, especially those with abundant spanish moss and near water.

[edit] Behaviour

The diet includes insects, spiders and occasionally berries.

They build a domed nest in clumps of epiphytes, especially Spanish moss, in a tree. 2 eggs are laid and are incubated by the female for 12-14 days. Common cowbird host.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. Avibase
  3. ITIS

[edit] External Links


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