Black-and-white Warbler

Mniotilta varia

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)

Code 4

BAWW

Code 6

MNIVAR

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black-and-white Warbler lives and breeds in northern and eastern North America, from Canada to Florida. It is a migratory species, and typically spends the winter months in Florida. They breed in woodlands and nest on the ground, and prefer habitats which are considered rather wet. The Black-and-white Warbler feeds mostly on insects and spiders, and has a characteristic breeding call and song. It is relatively small, reaching only 13 cm in length in adulthood. Females typically lay 4 to 5 eggs each nesting season. The Black-and-white Warbler’s population is relatively stable without major looming threats, and thus has a conservation status of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black-and-white Warbler: Small, black-and-white striped warbler with a white median head stripe bordered by black. Black bill, legs and feet. It forages unlike any other warbler by moving up and down the trunks of trees and crawling under and over branches in a style similar to that of a nuthatch.


Range and Habitat

Black-and-white Warbler: Breeds from the Northwest Territories, northern Alberta, and central Manitoba east to Newfoundland, and south to southern U.S. east of the Rockies. Winters from southern parts of Gulf Coast states southward. Preferred habitats include primary and secondary forests. During migration occurs in parks, gardens, and lawn areas with trees and shrubs.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"wee-see", "chip", "tik", "seet-seet"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Black-and-white Warbler is the only member of the genus Mnitilta, which means "moss plucking". They have an unusually long hind toe and claw on each foot. This adaptation allows them to move securely on the surface of tree bark.
  • They are known for their habit of creeping around tree trunks and along larger branches in search of insect food in crevices or under the bark; hence its old name, "Black-and-white Creeper." Unlike the Brown Creeper, which only moves up a tree, this species can climb in any direction.
  • Unusually aggressive for a warbler, they sometimes attack and fight Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, and other species.
  • A group of black-and-white warblers are collectively known as a "dichotomy", "distinction", and "integration" of warblers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Black-and-white Warbler

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Imran Kahn

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