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worm-eating warbler

worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum)
Photo © Rob Curtis/The Early Birder

Features and Behaviors

The worm-eating warbler averages about five to five and one-half inches in length. It has dull, olive-green feathers and black stripes on its buff-colored head. The breast feathers are brown.

The worm-eating warbler lives in dry, wooded slopes. It breeds in all except the northeastern one-fourth of Illinois. In winter it lives in the West Indies and central America. During spring migration this bird begins arriving in Illinois in April. Its song is a buzzing sound. The nest is built on the ground, usually under vegetation. This nest of dead leaves is lined with mosses and hair. Three to six white eggs with brown markings are deposited. The female alone incubates for the 13-day incubation period. Fall migration out of Illinois begins in September. The worm-eating warbler feeds near or on the ground, eating insects.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native