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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide
Species Group: Bird
State: Special Concern (Breeding)
The hooded warbler is a small migratory songbird about 5 ½ inches in length. The male has a yellow face and forehead completely encircled by a black hood and throat. The female and immature individuals lack the black hood and throat. All individuals are olive-green on the back with a bright yellow belly.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
The breeding range of the hooded warbler covers the eastern half of the US from Minnesota and Wisconsin in the northwest to southern New England in the northeast and as far south as Texas and Florida. It winters in the West Indies, Central America, and eastern Mexico.
Breeding habitat consists of deciduous woodland understory, especially near streams. It inhabits young forests but is more abundant in mature forests. A dense shrub layer with little ground cover is important for this species and it prefers large tracts of uninterrupted forest. During the winter, males prefer lowland mature forests while females favor scrub and secondary forest.
Hooded warblers feed on a variety of insects and spiders. They typically feed by gleaning and flycatching in the undergrowth.
The breeding season for the hooded warbler in New Jersey is between mid-April and early to mid-August. Nests are built by the female and are usually about 1-6 feet above the ground in a sapling or shrub. 3 to 4 eggs are laid and incubation by the female lasts about 12 days. The young are tended to by both parents and leave the nest after 8 or 9 days.
CURRENT STATUS, THREATS, AND CONSERVATION
The hooded warbler has undergone a decline in population over the last several decades throughout portions of its range including New Jersey. Such declines are most likely due to habitat loss. Destruction of primary forest within the species’ winter range is an on-going threat. It is listed as a Species of Special Concern in New Jersey (not yet endangered or threatened but possibly on its way).
Preservation of large areas of contiguous forest and riparian forest with mature forest buffers are important for this species within its breeding range. Conservation of New Jersey’s warbler species requires long-term monitoring and research, habitat preservation and restoration, reduction in mortality caused by humans, cowbird control, and incentives to promote habitat preservation within their wintering areas.
Text written by Michael J. Davenport in 2011.
Species: W. citrina
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