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Description of the Chestnut-sided Warbler


The Chestnut-sided Warbler in breeding plumage has blackish upperparts striped with white, a yellow crown, a black frame around white cheeks, yellowish wing bars on dark wings, and chestnut red along the sides just below the wings

Males have a bolder black face frame.  Length: 5 in.  Wingspan: 8 in.

chestnut-sided warbler


Chestnut sided Warbler back0gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Females have a paler face frame.

Chestnut sided Warbler f gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Seasonal change in appearance

Fall males and females have greenish upperparts, a white eye ring, and lack the black face frame, making them look much different than breeding birds.


Immatures are similar to fall adults, but lack the chestnut sides.


chestnut-sided warbler


Chestnut-sided Warblers inhabit overgrown pastures and woodland edges with brush.


Chestnut-sided Warblers eat insects.


Chestnut-sided Warblers forage actively in shrubs and small trees, gleaning prey from leaves and twigs.


Chestnut-sided Warblers breed in southern Canada, the northeastern U.S., the Great Lakes Region, and the Appalachians. They winter from Mexico to Central America. The population has declined in recent decades.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Chestnut-sided Warbler.

Fun Facts

Forest clearing in the 1800s led to a significant population expansion of this brush specialist. Reforestation means less habitat is available today.

Chestnut-sided Warblers are often quite tame, and allow a close approach.


The song is a musical series of  "witchew witchew witchew" notes. A buzzy flight call is also given.


Attracted by water features.


The Chestnut-sided Warbler’s nest is a cup of bark strips, grasses, and roots lined with finer materials. It is placed in a dense shrub or vine tangle.


chestnut-sided warbler nest

Number: Usually lay 4 eggs.
Color: Whitish with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:

The young hatch at about 11-12 days and fledge at about 10-12 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.