Prairie Warbler


Dendroica discolor

Prairie warblers are commonly found nesting on the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in the spring and summer. They spend the winter in Central America and the West Indies. They are found in scrubby fields and regenerating forests throughout the eastern and south-central United States. They glean insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates from the leaves of plants.


Their nests are open cups of long plant fibers and other material, lined with fine grasses, mosses, and feathers, placed in trees or shrubs, usually less than 10 feet from the ground. They lay between 2 and 5 pale brownish or gray eggs, often with a ring of spots near one end and more spots scattered over the rest of the shell. The hatchlings are helpless and have some gray down.


Prairie warblers are tail-wagging yellow warblers with black streaks on their face and down their sides and flanks. They are small songbirds with olive-green underparts, rufous streaks on their backs, and yellow throats and bellies. They have bright yellow eyebrow stripes, a dark line through their eyes, and a yellow crescent under their eyes.


The population of prairie warblers is declining throughout most of range. The decline is largely attributable to loss of breeding habitat through development and natural change of shrubby habitat to forest.