Description of the Cape May Warbler


The Cape May Warbler has yellowish underparts heavily streaked with black and a yellow frame around the cheeks.

Males have greenish upperparts streaked with black, a blackish crown, and an orange cheek.


male cape may warbler


Females have grayer upperparts and a gray crown and cheek.


female cape may warbler

Seasonal change in appearance

Fall birds are duller.


Immatures are similar to dull fall adults.


Cape May Warblers inhabit spruce forests, but in migration they occur in a variety of woodlands.


Cape May Warblers eat insects, but also nectar and fruit juices.


Cape May Warblers forage at the tips of spruce branches, and also flycatch.


Cape May Warblers breed in southern Canada, the northeastern U.S., and the Great Lakes region. They winter in the Caribbean. The population is probably stable, though it varies with spruce budworm outbreaks.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Cape May Warbler.


Fun Facts

The nests of Cape May Warblers are very difficult to find, in part because of their height, and in part because the female is careful and elusive when coming or going.

The Cape May Warbler’s thin, slightly decurved bill helps it obtain nectar and juices during the winter.


The song is a high-pitched series of weak notes. A high-pitched flight call is also given.


The Cape May Warbler’s nest is a cup of vines, moss, and weeds lined with finer materials. It is placed near the top of a spruce trunk.

Number: Usually lay 6-7 eggs.
Color: Whitish with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
Very little information is available regarding incubation and fledging.