The Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum) is a small songbird of the New World warbler family.
The species comprises two distinct subspecies that may merit specific status.
“Yellow Palm Warbler” or “Eastern Palm Warbler” (S. p. hypochrysea) of the eastern third of the breeding range has brownish-olive upperparts and thoroughly yellow underparts with bold rufous breast and flank streaking. It migrates later in the fall than its western counterpart.
“Brown Palm Warbler” or “Western Palm Warbler” (S. p. palmarum) inhabits the remaining western two-thirds of the breeding range. It has much less yellow below, with less colorful streaking, and cold grayish-brown upperparts. [Wikipedia]
A warbler that doesn’t act like one, the Palm Warbler spends its time walking on the ground, wagging its tail up and down. This brownish-olive bird has a bright rusty cap and a bold pale eyebrow stripe. They breed mainly in Canada’s boreal forest, but most people see them during migration or on wintering grounds foraging in open areas. You may see two forms: an eastern subspecies that’s bright yellow below, and a more western subspecies with a pale belly. [All About Birds]
Palm Warbler Facts [All About Birds]
- Though the Palm Warbler’s name might imply it is a tropical bird, it’s actually one of the northernmost breeding of all warblers (only the Blackpoll Warbler breeds farther north). They got their name from J. P. Gmelin who named them based on a specimen collected on Hispaniola, a Caribbean island with a lot of palm trees.
- The subspecies of Palm Warbler in the East (“Yellow” Palm Warbler) migrates earlier in the spring than its western counterpart. “Yellow” Palm Warblers start moving north in early April and Western Palm Warblers start moving north shortly after that. The two subspecies of Palm Warbler also migrate along different routes in spring; the “Yellow” Palm Warbler travels east of the Appalachian Mountains while the “Western” Palm Warbler migrates through the Mississippi Valley.
- Canada’s boreal forests stretch for miles and miles. The great boreal forest, often called “North America’s bird nursery,” is the summer home to billions of migratory birds and an estimated 98% of all Palm Warblers.
- The oldest known Palm Warbler was 6 years, 7 months old.