The Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata) is a New World warbler. Breeding males are mostly black and white. They have a prominent black cap, white cheeks, and white wing bars. The Blackpoll breeds in forests of northern North America, from Alaska, through most of Canada, the Great Lakes region and New England. They are a common migrant through much of North America. [Wikipedia]
The sharply marked Blackpoll Warbler is nature’s hearing test, with a high-pitched, almost inaudible song that floats through the boreal forests of Canada. This long-distance athlete weighs less than half an ounce yet makes the longest over-water journey of any songbird—nearly 1,800 miles nonstop over the Atlantic Ocean to its wintering grounds. In the fall, this black-and-white warbler molts into yellow-green plumage and loses its black cap. Although still numerous, it has lost an estimated 88% of its population in the last 40 years. [All About Birds]
Blackpoll Warbler Facts [All About Birds]
- The song of the Blackpoll Warbler will put your hearing to the test. Most birds sing at a frequency between 1,000 Hz and 8,000 Hz, but the Blackpoll’s song can reach 10,000 Hz, even higher than the song of a Brown Creeper.
- Blackpoll Warblers are long-distance athletes, and they hold the record for the longest over-water flight for a songbird. During the fall, these half-ounce warblers fly nonstop for up to 3 days, covering on average over 1,800 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to reach their wintering grounds in Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, and northern South America. Such a journey requires that they eat enough before they leave to double their body mass.
- Blackpoll Warblers fly incredible distances—especially the ones that nest in western Canada, farthest from the wintering grounds. Those birds tend to have longer wings than those nesting in eastern Canada. Longer wings may mean that they can fly faster or more efficiently to reach their distant wintering grounds.
- The oldest recorded Blackpoll Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 1 month old, when he was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Alaska in 2006. He had been banded in the same state in 1999.