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chestnut-sided warbler

chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)
Photo © Rob Curtis/The Early Birder

chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) [male]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

A yellow crown and chestnut side feathers are identifying features for the male of this species in its breeding plumage. The female has similar coloration, but the chestnut is lighter and less prominent. In the nonbreeding condition, the birds are green above, white below, have a white eye ring, pale yellow wing bars and some chestnut coloration on the sides. This species is about five inches in length.

The chestnut-sided warbler is a common migrant statewide and a rare to locally uncommon summer resident in the state. It winters in Mexico and Central America. In Illinois, this species can be found in shrubby areas in old pastures, roadsides, fence rows and woods. The nest is constructed one to four feet above ground in a shrub and usually contains four eggs. Spring migrants begin arriving in Illinois in late April. Fall migration starts in August. It eats mainly insects, although fruits may become part of the diet in fall and winter.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native