New World warbler

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New World warbler
Protonotaria-citrea-002 edit.jpg
Prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Wetmore et al., 1947

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The New World warblers or wood-warblers are a group of small, often colorful, passerine birds that make up the family Parulidae and are restricted to the New World. They are not closely related to Old World warblers or Australian warblers. Most are arboreal, but some, like the ovenbird and the two waterthrushes, are primarily terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores.

Passerine Any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds

A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes, which facilitates perching, amongst other features specific to their evolutionary history in Australaves.

Bird Warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates with wings, feathers and beaks

Birds, also known as Aves or avian dinosaurs, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with approximately ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are more or less developed depending on the species; the only known groups without wings are the extinct moa and elephant birds. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites, penguins, and diverse endemic island species of birds. The digestive and respiratory systems of birds are also uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments, particularly seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming.

New World Collectively, the Americas and Oceania

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.


This group likely originated in northern Central America, where the greatest number of species and diversity between them is found. From there, they spread north during the interglacial periods, mainly as migrants, returning to the ancestral region in winter. Two genera, Myioborus and Basileuterus , seem to have colonized South America early, perhaps before the two continents were linked, and together constitute most warbler species of that region.

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is a region found in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated to be between 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Bird migration movement of birds

Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. Migration carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans, and is driven primarily by availability of food. It occurs mainly in the northern hemisphere, where birds are funneled on to specific routes by natural barriers such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Caribbean Sea.

<i>Basileuterus</i> genus of birds

Basileuterus is a genus of New World warblers, best represented in Central and South America. This is one of only two warbler genera that are well represented in the latter continent. Some species formerly considered in this genus are now placed in the genus Myiothlypis. It is likely that the ancestors of this genus colonised South America from the family’s heartland in northern Central America even before the two continents were linked, and subsequent speciation provided most of the resident warbler species of that region.

The scientific name for the family, Parulidae, originates from the fact that Linnaeus in 1758 named the northern parula as a tit, Parus americanus, and as taxonomy developed, the genus name was modified first to Parulus and then to Parula . The family name derives from the name for the genus.

Carl Linnaeus Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist

Carl Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy". Many of his writings were in Latin, and his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus.

10th edition of <i>Systema Naturae</i> Book by Carl Linnaeus

The 10th edition of Systema Naturae is a book written by Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus and published in two volumes in 1758 and 1759, which marks the starting point of zoological nomenclature. In it, Linnaeus introduced binomial nomenclature for animals, something he had already done for plants in his 1753 publication of Species Plantarum.

Northern parula species of bird

The northern parula is a small New World warbler. It breeds in eastern North America from southern Canada to Florida.


The family Parulidae was introduced for the New World warblers in 1947 by the American ornithologist Alexander Wetmore and colleagues with Parula as the type genus. [1]

Alexander Wetmore American ornithologist and avian paleontologist

Frank Alexander Wetmore was an American ornithologist and avian paleontologist. He was the sixth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

Type genus term in zoological nomenclature (also non-officially in botanical nomenclature)

In biological classification, especially zoology, the type genus is the genus which defines a biological family and the root of the family name.


All the warblers are fairly small. The smallest species is Lucy's warbler (Oreothlypis luciae), around 6.5 g and 10.6 cm (4.2 in). Which species is the largest depends upon which are to be included in the family. Traditionally, this was considered to be the yellow-breasted chat, at 18.2 cm (7.2 in). Since this may not be a parulid, the Parkesia waterthrushes, the ovenbird, the russet-crowned warbler, and Semper's warbler, all of which can exceed 15 cm (5.9 in) and 21 g, might be considered the largest.

Lucys warbler species of bird

Lucy's warbler is a small New World warbler found in North America. This species ranges includes southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is one of only two warblers to nest in cavities.

Yellow-breasted chat species of bird

The yellow-breasted chat is a large songbird found in North America, and is the only member of the family Icteriidae. It was once a member of the New World warbler family, but in 2017 the American Ornithological Society moved it to its own family. Its placement is not definitely resolved.

Russet-crowned warbler species of bird

The russet-crowned warbler is a species of bird in the Parulidae family. It is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and heavily degraded former forest.

The migratory species tend to lay larger clutches of eggs, typically up to six, since the hazards of their journeys mean that many individuals will have only one chance to breed. In contrast, the laying of two eggs is typical for many tropical species, since the chicks can be provided with better care, and the adults are likely to have further opportunities for reproduction.

Many migratory species, particularly those which breed further north, have distinctive male plumage at least in the breeding season, since males need to reclaim territory and advertise for mates each year. This tendency is particularly marked in the large genus Setophaga (formerly Dendroica). In contrast, resident tropical species, which pair for life, show little if any sexual dimorphism, but exceptions occur. The Parkesia waterthrushes and ovenbird] are strongly migratory, but have identical male and female plumage, whereas the mainly tropical and sedentary yellowthroats are dimorphic. The Granatellus chats also show sexual dimorphism, but due to recent genetic work, have been moved into the family Cardinalidae (New World buntings and cardinals).

<i>Setophaga</i> genus of birds

Setophaga is a genus of birds of the New World warbler family Parulidae. It contains at least 33 species. The males in breeding plumage are often highly colorful. The Setophaga warblers are an example of adaptive radiation with the various species using different feeding techniques and often feeding in different parts of the same tree.

Sexual dimorphism condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs

Sexual dimorphism is the condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs. The condition occurs in many animals and some plants. Differences may include secondary sex characteristics, size, weight, color, markings, and may also include behavioral and cognitive differences. These differences may be subtle or exaggerated, and may be subjected to sexual selection. The opposite of dimorphism is monomorphism.

Yellowthroat genus of birds

The yellowthroats are New World warblers in the genus Geothlypis. Most members of the group have localised ranges in Mexico and Central America, but the masked yellowthroat has an extensive South American distribution, and common yellowthroat, the only migratory species in the group, breeds over much of North America.


A number of issues exist in the taxonomy and systematics of the Parulidae.

Genera and species

Genus Leucopeza

Genus Limnothlypis

Related Research Articles

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Northern waterthrush species of bird

The northern waterthrush is one of the larger New World warblers and one of the Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbirds. It breeds in the northern part of North America in Canada and the northern United States including Alaska. This bird is migratory, wintering in Central America, the West Indies and Florida, as well as in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. It is a very rare vagrant to other South American countries and to western Europe.

Louisiana waterthrush species of bird

The Louisiana waterthrush is a New World warbler, that breeds in eastern North America and winters in the West Indies and Central America. Plain brown above, it is white below, with black streaks and with buff flanks and undertail, distinguishing it from the closely related northern waterthrush. The habitats it prefers are streams and their surroundings, and other wet areas.

Ovenbird species of bird

The ovenbird is a small songbird of the New World warbler family (Parulidae). This migratory bird breeds in eastern North America and winters in Central America, many Caribbean islands, Florida and northern Venezuela.

Mourning warbler species of bird

The mourning warbler is a small songbird of the New World warbler family. Mourning warblers are native to eastern and central North America as well as some countries in Central America. They are neotropical migrants and tend to be found in dense second growth forests. They are under the Wood-warbler category, which consists of arboreal and terrestrial colorful passerines. Wood warblers are in the order Passeriformes, which are perching birds including more than half of all bird species, and the family Parulidae which also includes the Common Yellowthroat, Black and White Warbler, Nashville Warbler, ovenbird, and American Redstart. They are very similar to the MacGillivray’s warbler in appearance, especially in females and immature birds, but their breeding range does not overlap into the west.

Many species of North American landbird have been recorded in Great Britain as vagrants. Most occur in autumn; southwest England attracts is time than in autumn. Weather systems are thought to be the primary reason for the occurrence of birds in autumn; some birds seen in spring may simply be overshoots, although ship-assistance may also play a part.

<i>Parula</i> genus of birds

Parula was formerly a small genus of New World warblers which breed in North and South America.

<i>Vermivora</i> genus of birds

Vermivora is a genus of New World warblers.

Whitestart genus of birds

Whitestarts are New World warblers in the genus Myioborus. The English name refers to the white outer tail feathers which are a prominent feature of the members of this genus. Confusingly, they are sometimes named as “redstarts”, and the use of these less accurate names is still widespread in Central and North America, while whitestart has gained wider use in South America and is the name recommended by the IOC.

Waterthrush genus of birds

The waterthrushes are a genus of New World warbler, Parkesia. The genus was split from Seiurus, which previously contained both waterthrush species and the ovenbird. When the genera split, the ovenbird was the only member left in Seiurus.


  1. Wetmore, A.; Friedmann, H.; Lincoln, F.C.; Miller, A.H.; Peters, J.L.; van Rossem, A.J.; Van Tyne, J.; Zimmer, J.T. (1947). "Twenty-second supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union checklist of North American birds" (PDF). Auk. 64 (3): 445-452 [451].

Further reading