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Black-and-white Warbler

Named after their black and white plumage, these Warblers are quite different from other Warblers.

The Black-and-white Warbler is unusual among warblers in that it often forages on tree trunks in the way nuthatches normally do. It is a very early migrant each spring, appearing a month or more before many of the other warblers arrive.

Bird watchers sometimes refer to a sore neck as “warbler neck”, because looking at most warblers in the spring means tilting your head way back to see into the tops of trees where warblers are often found. Because of this, you might be surprised to learn that Black-and-white Warblers nest on the ground rather than in trees.


Description of the Black-and-white Warbler


The Black-and-white Warbler has boldly-striped, black and white upperparts, head, and underparts, and black wings with two white wing bars.  Length: 5 in.  Wingspan: 8 in.

Black-and-white Warbler


Females have paler faces and throats.

Seasonal change in appearance



Similar to adults, but immature females have buffy flanks.


Black-and-white Warblers inhabit second growth and mature forests.


Black-and-white Warblers eat insects.

Black-and-white Warbler

Photograph © Greg Lavaty


Black-and-white Warblers forage by creeping along trunks and branches like a nuthatch.


Black-and-white Warblers breed across the eastern half of the U.S. and southern Canada. They winter from Mexico south to South America. The population is stable.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Black-and-white Warbler.

Fun Facts

The Black-and-white Warbler is one of the earliest to arrive among the spring warblers.

Black-and-white Warblers have short legs and a long hind claw to help them creep along tree trunks.


The song is a series of very high, thin whistles. A hissing, high-pitched flight call is also given.


Similar Species

Blackpoll Warblers
Adult male Blackpoll Warblers have white cheeks and an all black cap.



The Black-and-white Warbler’s nest is a cup of leaves, bark strips, and grasses and is lined with finer materials. It is placed on the ground well concealed at the base of a tree, log, or rock.

Number: 4-5.
Color: Whitish in color with darker markings.

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


Bent Life History of the Black-and-white Warbler

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Black-and-white Warbler – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.





The black-and-white warbler is one of the earliest spring warblers to reach its breeding-ground in the Transition Zone. Most of the other members of this family arrive in or pass through the region in mid-May or somewhat later, according to the season, when the oaks are in bloom and the opening flowers attract swarms of insects.

The black-and-white warbler, however, owing to its peculiar habit of feeding on the trunks and the large limbs of the trees, does not have to wait for the bounty supplied by the oaks but finds its special feeding-ground well stocked with food long before the oaks blossom or their leaves unfold. It comes with the yellow palm warbler late in April, when many of the trees are nearly bare, and not long after the pine warbler.

Mniotilta is a neat little bird, dressed in modest colors, at this season singing its simple but sprightly song as it scrambles over the bark: the black-and-white creeper, Alexander Wilson calls it.

Milton B. Trautman (1940), speaking of the spring migration at Buckeye Lake, Ohio, shows that the male birds are preponderant in the earliest flights. He says: “The first spring arrivals, chiefly males, were noted between April 16 and 30, and between May 1 and 5, 2 to 15 birds, mostly males, could be daily noted. The peak of migration usually lasted from May 6 to May 18, and then from 3 to 42 individuals, consisting of a few old males and the remainder females and young males, were daily observed. On May 18 or shortly thereafter a decided lessening in numbers occurred, and by May 23 all except an occasional straggler had left.”

Courtship: Forbush (1929) gives this hint of courtship, which resembles the activities of most warblers at this season: “When the females arrive there is much agitation, and often a long-continued intermittent pursuit, with much song and fluttering of black and white plumage, and much interference from rival males before the happy pair are united and begin nesting.”

Nesting: The black-and-white warbler usually builds its nest on the ground, tucking it away against a shrub or tree, or even under the shelter of an overhanging stone or bank. The nest is generally concealed among an accumulation of dead leaves which, arching over it, hides it from above. It is made, according to A. C. Bent (MS.), “of dry leaves, coarse grass, strips of inner bark, pine needles and rootlets, and is lined with finer grasses and rootlets and horsehair.” I have seen a nest made chiefly of pine needles on a base of dry leaves.

Henry Mousley (1916), writing of Hatley, Quebec, mentions moss as a component part of the nest, and says of three nests that they were all “heavily lined with long black and white horse hairs,” a peculiarity of coloration mentioned in one of Mr. Bent’s nests. Thomas D. Burleigh (1927b) speaks of a nest in Pennsylvania “built of dead leaves and rhododendron berry stems, lined with fine black rootlets and a few white hairs.” H. H. Brimley (1941) describes an exceptional nest. He says: “There was no particular departure from normal in its construction except for the fact that it was lined with a mixture of fine rootlets and very fine copper wire, such as is used in telephone cables. Fragments of such cable, discarded by repair men, were found nearby where a telephone line ran through the woods.”

Cordelia J. Stanwood (19 lOc) speaks of a nest “built in a depression full of leaves, behind a flat rock. * * * The cavity was shaped on a slant, the upper wall forming a partial roof. * * * It looked not unlike a small-sized nest of an Oven-bird. On the inside, the length was 21/2 inches, width 1½ inches, depth 2 inches. On the outside, length 31,12 inches, width 21/2 inches, depth 2½ inches. Thickness of wall at the top of nest, 1 inch; at the bottom, ‘/2 inch.” Henry Mousley (1916) gives the average dimensions of three nests as “outside diameter 33/4, inside 134 inches; outside depth 214, inside 1½ inches.”

F. A. E. Starr (MS.) writes to A. C. Bent from Toronto, Ontario, that all the nests he has found have been in broken-off stumps in low woods. “The cavity in the top of the stump,” he says, “is filled with old leaves, and the nest proper is made chiefly of strips of bark with grass and fiber.” Guy H. Briggs (1900) reports a nest “in a decayed hemlock stump, fifteen inches from the ground.” In such cases, of course, while the nest is well above the ground level, it rests on a firm foundation.

Audubon (1841) says: “In Louisiana, its nest is usually placed in some small hole in a tree,” but he quotes a letter to him from Dr. T. M. Brewer on the subject, thus: “This bird, which you speak of as breeding in the hollows of trees, with us always builds its nest on the ground. I say always, because I never knew it to lay anywhere else. I have by me a nest brought to me by Mr. Appleton from Batternits, New York, which was found in the drain of the house in which he resided.”

Minot (1877) speaks of two nests found near Boston, Mass., well above the ground. He says: “The first was in a pine grove, in the cavity of a tree rent by lightning, and about five feet from the ground, and the other on the top of a low birch stump, which stood in a grove of white oaks.”

Gordon Boit Weliman (1905) states: “Toward the last of the incubation time one of the birds was constantly on the nest. I found the male sitting usually at about dusk, but I think the female sat on the eggs over night.”

Eggs: [Author’s Note: The black-and-white warbler usually lays 4 or 5 eggs to a set, normally 5, seldom fewer or more. These are ovate to short ovate and slightly glossy. The ground color is white or creamy white. Some are finely sprinkled over the entire surface with “cinnamon-brown,” “Mars brown,” and “dark purplish drab”; others are boldly spotted and blotched with “russet” and “Vandyke brown,” with underlying spots of “brownish drab,” “light brownish drab,” and “light vinaceous-drab.” Speckled eggs are commoner than the more boldly blotched type. The markings are usually concentrated at the large end, and on some of the heavily spotted eggs there is a solid wreath of different shades of russet and drab. The measurements of 50 eggs average 17.2 by 13.3 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 18.8 by 13.7, 17.9 by 14.7, 15.7 by 12.7, and 16.3 by 12.2 millimeters (Harris).]

Young: Cordelia J. Stanwood (MS.) speaks of the nestlings a few days from the egg as “very dark gray, much like young juncos and Nashville warblers.” But when they leave the nest they are clearly recognizable as young black-and-white warbiers, although they are slightly tinged with brownish. By mid-July, here in New England, they assume their first winter plumage, and, as both sexes of the young birds have whitish cheeks, they resemble very closely their female parent.

Unlike the young of some of the other warblers which remain near the ground for many days, the young black-and-white warblers shortly ascend to the branches of trees where they are fed by the old birds.

I find no definite record of the length of the incubation period, but in a nest I watched in 1914 it was close to 10 days. Burns (1921) gives the period of nestling life as 8 to 12 days.

Plumages: [Aumoa’s Non: Dr. Dwight (1900) calls the natal down mouse gray, and describes the juvenal plumage as follows: “Above, wood-brown streaked with dull olive-brown, the upper tail coverts dusky; median crown and superciliary stripe dingy white. Wings and tail dull black, edged chiefly with ashy gray, the tertiaries (except the proximal which is entirely black) broadly edged with white, buff tinged on the middle one. Two huffy white wing bands at tips of greater and median wing coverts. The outer two rectrices with terminal white blotches of variable extent on the inner webs. Below, dull white, washed on the throat and sides with wood-brown, obscurely streaked on throat, breast, sides and crissum with dull grayish black.”

A postjuvenal molt begins early in July, involving everything but the flight feathers; this produces in the young male a first winter plumage which is similar to the juvenal, but whiter and more definitely streaked. “Above, striped in black and white, the upper tail coverts black broadly edged with white; median crown and superciliary stripe pure white. The wing bands white. Below, pure white streaked with bluish black on sides of breast, flanks and crissum, the black veiled by overlapping white edgings; the chin, throat, breast and abdomen unmarked. Postocular stripe black; the white feathers of the sides of the head tipped with black.”

The first nuptial plumage is acquired by a partial prenuptial molt in late winter, which involves a large part of the body plumage, but not the wings or the tail. “The black streaks of the chin and throat are acquired, veiled with white, and the loral, subocular and auricular regions become jet-black. The brown primary coverts distinguish young birds and the chin is less often solidly black than in adults.”

The adult winter plumage is acquired by a complete postnuptial molt, beginning early in July. It differs from the first winter dress in having the chin and throat heavily streaked with irregular chains of black spots veiled with white edgings, the wings and tail blacker and the edgings a brighter gray. * * * The female has corresponding plumages and moults, the first prenuptial moult often very limited or suppressed. In juvenal dress the wings and tail are usually browner with duller edgings and the streaking below obscure. In first winter plumage the streakings are dull and obscure everywhere, a brown wash conspicuous on the flanks and sides of the throat. The first nuptial plumage is gained chiefly by wear through which the brown tints are largely lost, the general color becoming whiter and the streaks more distinct. The adult winter plumage is rather less brown than the female first winter, the streaking less obscure and the wings and tail darker. The adult nuptial plumage, acquired partly by moult, is indistinguishable with certainty from the first nuptial.”]

Food: McAtee (1926) summarizes the food of the species thus:

In its excursions over the trunks and larger limbs of trees the Black and White Creeper is certainly not looking for vegetable food, and only a trace of such matter has been found in the stomachs examined. The food is chiefly Insects but considerable numbers of spiders and daddy-long-legs also are eaten. Beetles, caterpillars, and ants are the larger classes of insect food, but moths, flies, bugs, and a few hymenoptera also are eaten. Among forest enemies that have been found in stomachs of this species are round-headed wood borers, leaf beetles, flea beetles, weevils, bark beetles, leaf hoppers, and jumping plant lice. The hackberry caterpillar, the backberry psyllid, an oak leaf beetle Iaathoaia lO-notata, and the willow flea beetle, are forms specifically identified. Observers have reported this warbler to feed also upon ordinary plant lice, and upon larvae of the gypsy moth.

Forbush (1929) adds the following observation: “The food of this bird consists mostly of the enemies of trees, such as plant-lice, scalelice, caterpillars, both hairy and hairless, among them such destructive enemies of orchard, shade and forest trees as the canker-worm and the gipsy, brown-tail, tent and forest tent caterpillars. Woodboring and bark-boring insects, click beetles, curculios and many other winged insects are taken. Sometimes when the quick-moving insects escape its sharp bill, it pursues them on the wing but most of its attention is devoted to those on the trees.”

11. H. Tuttle (1919), speaking of the male parent feeding the young birds, says: “The fare which he provided was composed entirely of small green caterpillars, cut up into half-lengths.”

Behavior: The black-and-white warbler seems set apart from others of the group, perhaps because of its marked propensity for clambering over the trunks of trees and their larger branches. Although, like other warblers, it seems at home among the smaller twigs, it spends a large part of its time on upright surfaces over which it moves easily and quickly, upward, downward, and spirally, with great agility and sureness of footing, constantly changing direction, and not using the tail for support. As it scrambles over the bark, it switches from side to side as if at each hop it placed one foot and then the other in advance, and even on slim branches it hops in the same way, the tail alternately appearing first on one side of the branch and then on the other; it reminds us of a little schoolgirl swishing her skirt from side to side as she walks down the street. The bird is alert and watchful, and if it starts an insect from the bark, or sees one flying near, it may pursue it and catch it in the air.

H. H. Tuttle (1919) describes an extreme example of behavior simulating a wounded bird. He says: “She struck the leaves with a slight thud and turned over on her side, while the toes of one up stretched leg clutched at the air and her tail spread slowly into a pointed fan. * * * Deceived for a moment then, I turned a step in her direction. She lay quite still except for a quivering wing. I reached out toward her with a small stick and touched her side; she screamed pitifully; I stretched out my hand to pick her up, but with a last effort she righted herself, and by kicking desperately with one leg, succeeded in pushing forward a few inches.”

We associate this warbler with dry, rocky hillsides where the ground is strewn with dead leaves, but the bird may breed also in the dry portions of shady, wooded swamps.

Voice: The black-and-white is one of the high-voiced singers. Its song is made up of a series of squeaky couplets given with a back-andforth rhythm, a seesawing effect, like the ovenbird’s song played on a fine, delicate instrument. It may be suggested by pronouncing the syllables we aee rapidly four or five times in a whispered voice. In the distance the song has a sibilant quality; when heard near at hand a high, clear whistle may be detected in the notes. The final note in the song is the accented 8ee.

Albert R. Brand (1~38),in his mechanically recorded songs of warblers, placed the black-and-white’s song as the fourth highest in pitch in his last of 10 species, the blackpoll, blue-winged, and the Blackburnian being higher. He gives the approximate mean (vibrations per second of the black and white as 6,900 and of the blackpool as 8,900.

Aretas A. Saunders (MS.) says: “The pitch of the songs varies, according to my records, from B”‘ to E””, a range of three and a half tones more than an octave. A single song, however, does not vary more than three and a half tones.”

A second song, not heard, I think, until the bird has been on its breeding ground for some time, is rather more pleasing, less monotonous, than the first. It is longer, somewhat faster, more lively, and is modulated in pitch. Francis H. Allen (MS.) speaks of it thus: “Later in the season a more elaborate song is very commonly heard. I have been accustomed to syllabify it as weesy, weesy, weesy, weesy, WOOSY, woosy, weesy, weesy. The notes indicated by woosy really differ from the others only by being pitched lower.”

Occasionally we hear aberrant songs which prove puzzling until we can see the singer. Allen remarks that he has heard several such songs, and I remember hearing one in which the lower note of each couplet was reduplicated, thereby strongly suggested one of the songs of the Blackburnian warbler. Sometimes Mniotilta sings during flight. I once heard a song from a bird’fiying within a few feet of me: at this range a sound of piercing sharpness.

Of the minor notes Andrew Allison (1907) says: “I know of no other warbler except the Chat that can produce so great a variety of sounds; and since nearly all of the notes resemble those of other warblers, this is a most confusing bird to deal with during the busy season of ‘waves ~ The call note often has a buzzing quality, and often runs into a long chatter (also characteristic of the young bird), but it may be given so sharply enunciated that it suggests the chip of the blackpoll. Allen (MS.) writes it chi, “like pebbles struck together,” and Cordelia J. Stanwood (1910) renders it 8ptz, saying “the sound resembled the noise made by a drop of syrup sputtering on a hot stove.”

Field marks: The blackpoll, in its spring plumage, and the blackand-white warbler resemble each other in coloration, but the latter bird may be readily distinguished by its white stripe down the center of the crown and the white line over the eye. The contrast in the behavior of the two birds separates them at a glance.

Enemies: Like other birds which build on the ground, the blackand-white is subject, during the nesting season, to attacks by snakes and predatory mammals. A. D. DuBois (MS.) cites a case in which maggots destroyed a nestful of young birds.

Harold S. Peters (1936) reports that a fly, Ornithoica confluen~ Say, and a louse, Myrsidea incerta (Kellogg), have been found in the plumage of the black-and-white warbler.

Herbert Friedmann (1929) says: “This aberrant warbler is a rather uncommon victim of the Cowbird, only a couple dozen definite instances having come to my notice. * * * The largest number of Cowbirds’ eggs found in a single nest of this Warbler is five, together with three eggs of the owner.” George W. Byers (1950) reports a nest of this warbler, in Michigan, that held two eggs of the warbler and eight of the cowbird, on which the warbler was incubating. His photograph of the eggs suggests that they were probably laid by four different cowbirds.

Fall: Several of the warbiers show a tendency to stray from their breeding grounds soon after their young are able to care for themselves, perhaps even before the postnuptial molt is completed and long before the birds gather into the mixed autumn flocks. Among these early wandering birds the black-and-white warbler is a very conspicuous species, perhaps because it is one of our commoner birds or, more probably, because of its habit of feeding in plain sight on the trunks and low branches of dead or dying trees and shrubs instead of hiding, like other warblers, high up in the foliage. It may be that the warblers we see at some distance from their breeding grounds thus early in the season have already begun their migration toward the south: they often appear to be migrating.

Behind the house in Lexington, Mass., where I lived for years, there was a little hill, sparsely covered with locust trees, to the southward from my dooryard. This hill was a favorite resort for warblers in late summer. No warbler bred within a mile of the spot, except the summer yellowbird, to use the old name, yet soon after the first of July the black-and-white warblers began to assemble there. Not infrequently I have seen a single bird come to the hill, flying in from the north across Lexington Common, and join others there. The small company might remain for an hour or more, frequently singing (evidently adult males) as the birds fed in the locust trees.

Later in the season, as August advances, migration appears more evident. The birds now gather in larger numbers, sometimes as many as eight or ten; they pause in the locust trees for a shorter time before flying off; they are no longer in song; and the majority of the birds have white cheeks, most of them presumably young birds. Although they are almost silent as they climb about feeding, if you stand quietly in the midst of a company of four or five, now and then you may hear a faint note, and at once the note comes from all sides, each bird apparently reporting its whereabouts: a sound which calls to mind the south-bound migrants as they roam through the quiet autumn woods. Other warblers, unquestionably migrants, visit this hillside in August, notably the Tennessee, an early arrival who has already traveled a long way.

The fall migration of the black-and-white is long-drawn-out. The bird does not depend, like many of the warbiers, on finding food among the foliage, so it may linger long after the trees are bare of leaves, sometimes, here in New England, well into October. I saw a bird in eastern Massachusetts on October 23, 1940, a very late date.

Winter: Dr. Alexander F. Skutch (MS.) sent to A. C. Bent the following comprehensive account of the bird on its winter quarters: “None of our warblers is more catholic in its choice of a winter home than the black-and-white. Upon its departure from its nesting range, it spreads over a vast area from the Gulf States south to Ecuador and Venezuela, from the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America eastward through the Antilles. And in the mountainous regions of its winter range it does not., like so many members of the family, restrict itself to a particular altitudinal zone, but on the contrary scatters from sea level high up into the mountains. As a result of this wide dispersion, latitudinal and altitudinal, it appears to be nowhere abundant in Central America during the winter months, yet it has been recorded from more widely scattered localities than most other winter visitants. On the southern coast of Jamaica, in December 1930, I found a greater concentration of individuals than I have ever seen in Central America during midwinter.

“Wintering throughout the length of Central America, from near sea level up to 9,000 feet and rarely higher, the black-and-white warbler is somewhat more abundant in that portion of its altitudinal range comprised between 2,000 or 8,000 and 7,000 or 8,000 feet above sea level. It is found in the heavy forest, in the more open types of woodland, among the shade trees of the coffee plantations, and even amid low second-growth with scattered trees. It creeps along the branches in exactly the same fashion in its winter as in its summer home. Solitary in its disposition, two of the kind are almost never seen together. The only time I have heard this warbler sing in Central America was also one of the very few occasions when I found two together. Early on the bright morning of September 1, 1983, when the warblers were arriving from the north, I heard the black-and-white’s weak little song repeated several times among the trees at the edge of an oak wood, at an altitude of 8,500 feet in the Guatemalan highlands. Looking into the tree tops, I saw two of these birds together. Apparently they were singing in rivalry, as red-faced warblers, Kaup’s redstarts, yellow warbiers, and other members of the family solitary during the winter months will sing in the face of another of their kind, at seasons when they are usually silent. Often such songs lead to a pursuit or even a fight; but I have never seen black-and-white warbiers actually engaged in a conflict in their winter home.

“Although intolerant of their own kind, the black-and-white warblers are not entirely hermits; for often a single one will attach itself to a mixed flock of small birds. In the Guatemalan highlands, during the winter months, such flocks are composed chiefly of Townsend’s warbiers; and each flock, in addition to numbers of the truly gregarious birds, will contain single representatives of various species of more solitary disposition, among them often a lone black-and-white, so different in appearance and habits from any of its associates.

“This warbler arrives and departs early. It has been recorded during the first week of August in Guatemala, and by the latter part of the month in Costa Rica and PanamA. In Costa Rica, it appears not to linger beyond the middle or more rarely the end of March; while for northern Central America my latest date is April 22.

“Early dates of fall arrival in Central America are: Guatemala: passirn (Griscom), August 8; Sierre de Tecp4n, August 23, 1933; Santa Maria de Jes6s, August 0, 1934; Huehuetenango, August 14, 1984. Honduras: Tela, August 19, 1930. Costa Rica: San Jos4 (Cherrie), August 20; Carrillo (Carriker), September 1; San Isidro de Coronado, September 8, 1935; Basin of El General, September 19, 1986; Vara Blanca, September 5, 1937; Murcia, September 11, 1941. PanamA: Canal Zone (Arbib and Loetscher), August 24, 1933, and August 29, 1934. Ecuador: Pastaza Valley, below Bafios, October 17, 1939.

“Late dates of spring departure from Central America are: Costa Rica: Basin of El General, February 23, 1936, March 10, 1939, March 26, 1940, March 3, 1942, March 18, 1943; Vara Blanca, March 13, 1938; Guayabo (Carriker), March 30; Juan Vifias (Carriker), March 21. Honduras: Tela, April 22, 1930. Guatemala: Motagua Valley, near Los Amates, April 17, 1932; Sierra do Tecp~n, February 20, 1933.”

The bird has a wide winter range, as shown above. Dr. Thomas Barbour (1943) speaks of it thus in Cuba: “Common in woods and thickets. A few arrive in August, and by September they are very abundant, especially in the overgrown jungles about the Ci~naga.”

Edward S. Dingle (MS.) has sent to A. C. Bent a remarkable winter record of a black-and-white warbler seen on Middleburg plantation, Huger, S. C., on January 13, 1944.

Range: Canada to northern South America.

Breeding range: The black-and-white warbler breeds north to southwestern Mackenzie, rarely (Simpson and Providence; has been collected at Norman) ; northern Alberta (Chipewyan and McMurray); central Saskatchewan (Flotten Lake, probably Grand Rapids, and Cumberland House); southern Manitoba (Duck Mountain, Lake St. Martin, Winnipeg, and Indian Bay) ; central Ontario (Kenora, Pagwachuan River mouth, and Lake Abitibi; has occurred at Piscapecassy Creek on James Bay, and at Moose Factory); southern Quebec (Lake Tamiskaming, Blue Sea Lake, Quebec, Mingan, and Mascanin; has occurred at Sandwich Bay, Labrador); and central Newfoundland (Deer Lake, Nicholsville, Lewisport, and Fogo Island). East to Newfoundland (Fogo Island and White Bear River) ; Nova Scotia (Halifax and Yarmouth) ; the Atlantic coast to northern New Jersey (Elizabeth a.nd Morristown) ; eastern Pennsylvania (Berwyn) ; Maryland (Baltimore and Cambridge); eastern Virginia (Ashland and Lawrenceville); North Carolina (Raleigh and Charlotte); South Carolina (Columbia and Aiken); and central Georgia (Augusta and Milledgeville). South to central Georgia (Milledgeville) ; south central Alabama (Autaugaville); north-central Mississippi (Starkville and Legion Lake); northern Louisiana (Monroe; rarely to southern Louisiana, Bayou Sora); and northeastern and south-central Texas (Marshall, Dallas, Classen, Kerrville, and Junction). West to central Texas (Junction and Palo Dura Canyon); central Kansas (Clearwater); central-northern Nebraska (Valentine); possibly eastern Montana (Glasgow) ; central Alberta (Camrose, Glenevis, and Lesser Slave Lake) ; to southwestern Mackenzie (Simpson). There is a single record of its occurrence in June at Gautay, Baja California, 25 miles south of the international border.

Winter range: Jn winter the black-and-white warbler is found north to southern Texas (Cameron County, occasionally Cove, and Texarkana); central Mississippi, occasionally (Clinton) ; accidental in winter at Nashville, Teun.; southern Alabama (Fairfield) ; southern Georgia (Lumber City, occasionally Milledgeville, and Athens); and rarely to central-eastern South Carolina (Edisto Island and Charleston). East to the coast of South Carolina, occasionally (Charleston) Georgia (Blackbeard Island); Florida (St. Augustine, New Smyrna, and Miami); the Bahamas (Abaco, Watling, and Great Abaco Islands) ; Dominican Republic (Samana) ; Puerto Rico; Virgin Islands and the Lesser Antilles to Dominica; and eastern Venezuela (Paria Peninsula). South to northern Venezuela (Paria Peninsula, Rancho Grande, and M~rida); west-central Colombia (Bogohi); and central Ecuador (Pastazo Valley). West to central and western Ecuador (Pastazo Valley and Quito); western Colombia (Pueblo Rico); western Panamii (Dvala); El Salvador (Mount Cacaguatique); western Guatemala (Mazatenango); Guerrero (Acapulco and Coyuca); Colima (Manzanillo) ; northwestern Pueblo (Metlatayuca); western Nuevo Le6n (Monterey); and southern Texas (Cameron County). It also occurs casually in the Cape region of Baja California and in southern California (Dehesa and Carpenteria). There are also several records in migration from California and from western Sinaloa.

Migration: L ate dates of spring departure from the winter home are: Venezuela: Yacua, Paria Peninsula, March 20. Colombia: Santa Marta region, March 12. Panam~: Gat6n, March 26. Costa Rica: El General, April 9. IHonduras: Tola, April 22. Guatemala: Quirigu~, April 17. Veracruz: El Conejo, May 15. Puerto Rico: Algonobo, April 27. Ilaiti: Ile ‘a Vache, May 6. Cuba: H~bana, May 25. Bahamas: Abaco, May 6. Florida: Orlando, May 21. Georgia: Cumberland, May 26. Louisiana: Avery Island, April 27.

Early dates of spring arrival are: South Carolina: Clemson College, March 20. North Carolina: Weaverville, March 3. Virginia: Lawrenceville, March 23. District of Columbia: Washington, March 30. New York: Corning, April 18. Massacbusetts: Stockbridge, April 16. Vermont: St. Johnsbury, April 19. Maine: Lewiston, April 27. Quebec: Montreal, April 26. Nova Scotia: Wolfville, April 29. Mississippi: Deer Island, March 4. Louisiana: Schriever, March 8. Arkansas: March 12. Tennessee: Nashville, March 20. Illinois: Chicago, April 17. Michigan: Ann Arbor, April 6. Ohio: Toledo, April 7. Ontario: Guelph, April 22. Missouri: Marionville, April 3. Iowa: Grinnell, April 16. Wisconsin: Milwaukee, April 20. Minnesota: Lanesboro, April 23. Kansas: Independence, April 1. Omaha: April 21. North Dakota: April 28. Manitoba: Winnipeg, April 28. Alberta: Edmonton, May 6; McMurray, May 15. Mackenzie: Simpson, May 22.

Late dates of fall departure are: Alberta: Athabaska Landing, September 11. Manitoba: Aweme, September 22. North Dakota: Argusville, October 2. Minnesota: Minneapolis, October 10. Iowa: Davenport, October 1. Missouri: Columbia, October 24. Wisconsin: Madison, October 7. Illinois: Port Byron, October 15. Ontan: hamilton, October 3. Michigan: Detroit, October 15. Ohio-Youngstown, October 15. Kentucky: Danville, October 14. Tennessee-Athens, October 17. Arkansas: Winslow, October 17. Louisiana: New Orleans, October 25. Mississippi: Gulfport, November 19. Quebec: Quebec, September 18. New Brunswick: St. John, September 19. Nova Scotia: Yarmouth, September 23. Maine-Portland, October 17. New Hampshire: Ossipee, October 18. Massachusetts: Cambridge, October 15. New York: New York, October 6. Pennsylvania: Atglen, October 29. District of Columbia: Washington, October 18. Virginia: Charlottesville, October 18. North Carolina: Raleigh, October 29. South Carolina: Charleston, November 15. Georgia: Savannah, October 29.

Early dates of fall arrival are: South Carolina: Charleston, July 19. Florida: Pensacola, July 12. Cuba: Artemisa, Pinar del Rio, August 1. Dominican Republic: Ciudad Trujillo, September 27. Puerto Rico: Mayagflez, October 9. Louisiana: New Orleans, July 21. Mississippi: Bay St. Louis, July 4. Michoac~n: Tancitaro, August 7. Guatemala: Huehuetenango, August 14. HondurasCantarranas, August 7. Costa Rica: San JosS, August 20. Panam~: Tapia, Canal Zone, August 24. Colombia: Bonda, Santa Marta region, August 21. Ecuador: Pastaza Valley, October 17. Venezuela: Estado Carabobo Las Tnincheras, October 9.

Banding: A single banding recovery is of considerable interest: A black-and-white banded at Manchester, N. H., on August 31, 1944, was found on March 17, 1945, at Friendship P. 0., Westmoreland, Jamaica.

Casual records: This warbler is casual in migration or winters in Bermuda, having been recorded in six different years from October to May.

At Tingwall, Shetland Islands, north of Scotland one was picked up on November 28, 1936. This is almost as far north as the northernmost record of occurrence in North America and later than it is normally found in the United States.

A specimen was collected near Pullman, Wash., on August 15, 1948, the first record for the State.

Egg dates: Massachusetts: 31 records, May 18 to June 14; 17 records, May 25 to June 3, indicating the height of the season.

New Jersey: 7 records, May 18 to June 8.

Tennessee: 3 records, May 1 to 17.

North Carolina: 6 records, April 20 to 28.

West Virginia: 7 records, May 6 to 29 (Harris).

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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