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bay-breasted warbler

bay-breasted warbler (Setophaga castanea) [female]
Photo ©

bay-breasted warbler (Setophaga castanea) [male]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

The bay-breasted warbler is about five and one-half inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). A breeding male has rust-red feathers on the back of the head, throat and sides of the belly. There is a tan patch of feathers on the neck and a black mask through the eye. The breeding female is paler than the male but does show some rust-red feathers on the back of the head and along the sides of the belly. The nonbreeding bird has green-brown feathers on the upper side and light tan feathers on the lower side. All stages have two white wing bars per wing.

Spring migrants start arriving in Illinois in late April. Fall migrants generally begin returning to the state in August. This species winters in Panama and northern South America. It eats insects and fruits.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae

Illinois Status: common, native