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prairie warbler

prairie warbler (Setophaga discolor) [female]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

prairie warbler (Setophaga discolor) [male]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

The prairie warbler is four and three-fourths inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). It has green-brown feathers on the top of the head and back that may show some rust-colored stripes on the male. There is a black stripe through the eye and one below the eye. Yellow feathers on the lower side of the body show some black stripes along the sides.

This species bobs its tail. Spring migrants begin arriving in Illinois in April. They nest in southern Illinois in small trees or tree saplings. A typical clutch contains four or five eggs. Egg-laying occurs in May and June. The prairie warbler overwinters from central Florida south to Central America and the West Indies. It eats insects and fruits.

Reasons for Concern

Habitat loss and degradation are the major factors causing this species’ population to decline.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native