The golden-winged warbler is a small grey and white bird named for its distinct golden-colored wing bars. This neotropical migrant breeds in the northern Great Lakes and Champlain regions and throughout the Appalachian Mountain range. During the non-breeding season, golden-winged warblers migrate to wintering grounds in Central America and the Andes region of Colombia and Venezuela.
The species has shifted northward in its breeding range in recent decades, while experiencing an overall range contraction, disappearing from more of its range than it has expanded into. This is due in part to loss of the young forest habitat that the species requires for nesting and foraging. Human development and forest-management practices have created an overabundance of mature forest that is not optimal for golden-winged warbler, and a shortage of young forest, known as early successional habitat. Another issue is the closely related blue-winged warbler, which can hybridize with the golden-winged warbler as the two species' ranges shift into overlapping areas - with negative implications for the golden-winged warbler. A combination of habitat loss, hybridization, and other threats have landed this species on several state-level endangered and threatened species lists, and made it a Bird of Conservation Concern for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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