Prothonotary Warbler

Protonotaria citrea




Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pink or cream with brown and gray spots

Number of Eggs:

4 - 6

Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

2 - 32 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Grasses, moss, leaves, and sticks, lined with feathers and rootlets.





Prothonotary Warbler: Medium-sized warbler with olive-green back and gray wings and tail. Head, neck, and underparts are vibrant yellow; undertail coverts are white. Female and juvenile are duller and have olive-green wash on heads and faces.

Range and Habitat

Prothonotary Warbler: Breeds mainly in the southern and southeastern states north to Minnesota, Michigan, and New York. During migration, it may appear from California to Maine. Spends winters in the tropics from coastal Yucatan Peninsula to areas south. Preferred habitats include wooded swamps, flooded bottomland forests, and streams with dead trees.

Breeding and Nesting

Prothonotary Warbler: Four to six pink or cream eggs, spotted with brown and gray, are laid in a tree cavity, stump hole, birdhouse, or other man-made structure, such as a mailbox. The cavity is stuffed with mosses to form a nest cup. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Prothonotary Warbler: Eats mostly insects, but also fruits and seeds; forages in trees, shrubs, and on the ground.

Readily Eats

Sugar Water, Fruit, Nut Pieces


Prothonotary Warbler: Song is a ringing "sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet -sweet-sweet"; also a canary-like flight song. Call is a loud, metallic "chip."

Similar Species

Prothonotary Warbler: Blue-winged Warbler has black eye ling and white wing bars. Female Yellow Warbler has yellow wings and undertail coverts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X