Beak of the Week – Golden-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)
Family: Parulidae

The Golden-winged Warbler is sure to be an exciting flash of gold in the trees during migration season. Of the warblers that frequently visit or breed in the United States, the Golden-winged Warbler is the only species with the unique combination of bright golden-yellow wing bars and a dark face pattern. It also has a golden patch on its crown and a grayish-silver wash to its wings and back, and it is slightly smaller than many other warbler species.

Although they are not as abundant as other wood-warblers, such as the closely-related Blue-winged Warbler, the Golden-winged Warbler can be seen traversing much of the eastern United States during the spring migration season. They can be found in a wide range of woodland and brushy habitats during migration, but they favor shrubby areas near or adjacent to forest cover for the breeding season. Because of this specific breeding habitat preference, the Golden-winged Warbler population is generally considered to be declining across its breeding range.

By Aidan Healey, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon
Photos by Greg Lavaty

Visit our Bird Gallery to learn about more Texas birds.

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