Golden-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler Photo Credit: Tom Hince

Vermivora chrysoptera


  • COSEWIC – Threatened.
  • COSSARO – Special concern.


  • Typical warbler size bird (12 cm)
  • Male has a slate-gray back and nape and a white chest and abdomen. The crown and forehead are bright yellow and contrast with a black cheek and throat patch. Thin white lines separate the crown from the cheek patch and the cheek patch from the throat patch. The slate-gray wings have a yellow patch.
  • On females, the cheek and throat patch are gray and the back and chest may have a hint of yellow or olive.
  • Life span of  up to 8 years

Habits and Reproduction:

  • Mid May returns from wintering grounds in Central America and the north coast of South America.
  • Nest on or near ground usually in a grass, fern, or weed clump or at the base of shrubs, such as alders.
  • 4-5 eggs, one brood per year but will re-nest if eggs are lost.
  • Nests in loose colonies of 2-6 pairs.
  • Stops singing usually by mid June when it is feeding their young.


  • Feeds on insects, such as caterpillars and spiders usually in tree tops with some feeding in lower shrubs.


  • Early succession forest or shrub habitat, such as alder thickets.


  • Brown-headed Cowbirds lay their eggs in golden-winged nests and the young cowbirds out compete the young warblers (brood parasitism).
  • Cross breeding with Blue-winged Warblers.
  • Loss of winter habitat.

Conservation Actions:

  • If you’re a coffee drinker, try to buy shade grown, preferably organic coffee. You’ll help protect over wintering habitat for many of our song birds.

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Thanks to the official sponsors of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Bird Studies Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Ontario Field Ornithologists, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) for supplying Atlas data, and to the thousands of volunteer participants who gathered data for the project.