Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


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Kirtland's warbler singing on a pine bough.


Kirtland's warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii )

Status: Proposed for Delisting


The Kirtland’s warbler is a small songbird that nests in young jack pine forests in northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. It requires large stands of young, dense jack pine forest at least 80 acres in size, but prefers stands of 300 to 400 acres, or larger. This warbler has one of the most geographically restricted breeding distributions of any bird in the continental United States. The exact habitat it uses for nesting within jack pine forests is very specific and depends on disturbance, which historically was wildfire. Today, management for Kirtland's warbler habitat emulates the results of wildfire. The Kirtland's warbler migrates to The Bahamas to overwinter.


The concern of the birding and scientific communities, supported by nesting and census data, led the Service to include the Kirtland’s warbler on the list of endangered species in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966. When the Endangered Species Act was passed into law in 1973, the Kirtland’s warbler was on the initial list of endangered and threatened species.


Proposal to Delist

With cooperative efforts among conservation partners, the Kirtland’s warbler population is now estimated to be over 2,300 pairs – more than double the recovery numerical goal. The Kirtland’s warbler population continues to grow and has exceeded the recovery numerical goal for the past 16 years. The proposed rule to delist the Kirtland's warbler published in the Federal Register on April 12, 2018 and the 90-day public comment period closes on July 11, 2018.


Federal Register Proposed Rule to Delist Adobe PDF Icon


How to provide comments or additional information on the proposed rule

We are seeking comments and additional information on the proposed rule to delist the Kirtland’s Warbler. The public comment period is open until July 11, 2018.


News Release


Recovery Timeline

Michigan's Bird of Fire Rises from the Ashes



Draft Post Delisting Monitoring Plan Adobe PDF Icon

We are currently seeking comments on the draft post-delisting monitoring plan for the Kirtland’s Warbler.  Please submit comments to eastlansing@fws.gov by July 11, 2018.


Post-delisting monitoring are actions taken to verify that a delisted species remains secure after it is no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act. If the Service delists the Kirtland’s warbler, the post-delisting monitoring plan will be implemented.

Learn More

Kirtland's warbler chick in the palm of a hand.
Kirtland's warbler perched on a branch.
Tour group viewing Kirtland's warbler.

Information about reproduction, feeding habits and habitat use

From near extinction to surpassing recovery goals

Fact sheets, articles and photos


Kirtland's Warbler Tours

Kirtland's warbler

Photo courtesy of Ron Austing


Kirtland's warbler tours are available from the U.S. Forest Service and Michigan Audubon Society in Michigan and from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Guided Kirtland’s warbler tours are the best opportunity to view Kirtland’s warblers, as nesting areas are closed and posted against public entry during the nesting season. Kirtland’s warblers are rarely seen in Michigan outside of their nesting habitat.


Michigan Audubon Society Tour Information

U.S. Forest Service Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Field Trips



Midwest Endangered Species Home

Kirtland's Warblers in Wisconsin

Last updated: October 10, 2018