Scientific Name: Dendroica cerulea
These colorful songbirds spend the breeding season in the treetops of deciduous forests in eastern North America. They migrate to South America’s forested mountains in the winter.
Refuges where the Cerulean Warbler can be found:
- Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge
- Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge
- Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the cerulean warbler as a species of concern. Between 1966 and 1999, the warbler’s population declined 4 percent annually throughout its breeding range in the East, leading to a total population loss of 70 percent. The bird’s total population is currently estimated at around 560,000. Habitat fragmentation has played a major role in this songbird’s rapid decline, and both its breeding and wintering habitats are continuing to dwindle.
This small bird, named after its unique blue coloring, sings in the high canopies of forests where it nests and forages. Males use their beautiful song to attract females during the breeding season. A female will build a nest 30 to 60 feet above the ground and lay three to four eggs. Adult males have a bright blue back, while females and juveniles display a duller turquoise plumage. Both males and females have white underparts with blue stripes. Cerulean warblers are often found in mixed-species foraging flocks in the winter. They search on the ground or on tree leaves for insects, and occasionally eat plants.