Bay-breasted Warbler

Setophaga castanea




Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, green or blue with purple or brown marks

Number of Eggs:

4 - 6

Incubation Days:

12 - 13

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

4 - 40 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks, grasses, roots, mosses, and stems, lined with pieces of bark and rabbit hair.





Bay-breasted Warbler: Medium-sized warbler with dark-streaked gray upperparts and buff underparts with chestnut-brown patches on breast and flanks. Head has dark brown crown and black mask. Wings are black with two white bars. Female is much duller. Winter adult and juvenile resemble female but are washed with olive-green.

Range and Habitat

Bay-breasted Warbler: Breeds from northeastern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories east to Maritime Provinces and south to the northern Great Lakes region and northern New England. Spends winters in the tropics. Preferred habitats include open spruce forests and deciduous woodlands. May also be found along the coast of California.

Breeding and Nesting

Bay-breasted Warbler: Four to six brown or purple marked, white, green or blue eggs are laid in a loosely built, hair-lined nest made of twigs, grass, and needles set in a conifer as much as 50 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 12 to 13 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Bay-breasted Warbler: Eats caterpillars, beetles, flies, moths, mayflies, ants, lacewings, and canker worms. Generally gleans prey from mid-level, inner part of conifers, particularly on lichen-covered limbs with little foliage, but readily forages at other heights within the tree and in broad-leaved foliage.


Bay-breasted Warbler: Song is a high, thin "teesi-teesi-teesi-teesi", without change in pitch or volume.

Similar Species

Bay-breasted Warbler: Chestnut-sided Warbler has yellow crown and white throat. In winter, Blackpoll Warbler has yellow legs, white undertail coverts, and more streaks on breast. Pine Warbler lacks black streaks on the back and has yellow on throat and breast.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X