Northern Parula

Setophaga americana




Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White with brown flecks and splotches

Number of Eggs:

3 - 7

Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

0 - 55 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with fine grasses, moss, and plant down.





Northern Parula: Small, compact warbler with blue-gray upperparts and bronze-green back patch. Throat and breast are yellow, breast band is chestnut-brown and black, and belly is white. White eye-ring is broken. Wings are blue-gray with two white bars. Tail is noticeably short. Female lacks breast band. Juvenile resembles female but has olive-green upperparts.

Range and Habitat

Northern Parula: Breeds from southeastern Canada to the Gulf coast and winters from southern Florida southward into the tropics, including the West Indies and southern portions of Mexico. Preferred breeding habitat includes wet, chiefly coniferous woods, in swamps, and along lakes and ponds. More widespread during migration.

Breeding and Nesting

Northern Parula: Three to seven white eggs with brown flecks and splotches are laid in a basket-shaped nest woven from grass, bark, and vegetable fibers, and neatly hidden in Spanish moss in the south or in beard moss or Usnea lichens in the north. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Northern Parula: Feeds on spiders, caterpillars, beetles, moths, ants, wasps, bees, flies, locusts, scale insects, plant lice, lacewings, and mayflies. Commonly gleans tips of foliage, small twigs, and branches high in the canopy; occasionally hovers or hangs upside-down on foliage, and sallies for aerial insects.

Readily Eats

Sugar Water, Fruit, Nut Pieces


Northern Parula: Song is a simple, rising, buzzing trill ending in a short, separate note. A less frequent and more complex song consists of a slower series of buzzing notes. Call is a clear, sweet "chip" and downward "tseep."

Similar Species

Northern Parula: Tropical Parula lacks breast band, broken eye ring and has darker face and more yellow underparts.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X