The Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) is a small New World warbler. It breeds in eastern North America from southern Canada to Florida.
The Northern Parula is one of the smaller North American migratory warblers, often being one of the smallest birds in a mixed feeding flock besides Kinglets or Gnatcatchers. It is 4.3 to 4.9 inches in length and weighs 0.18 to 0.39 oz. This species has mainly blue-gray upperparts, with a greenish back patch and two white wing bars. The breast is yellowish shading into the white belly. The summer male has bluish and rufous breast bands and prominent white eye crescents. At the end of the breeding season, individuals molt into a duller version of the breeding plumage. Females are similar-looking but tend to be duller and lack the breast bands. The unique breast-band fades in males and may disappear altogether in females. [Wikipedia]
A small warbler of the upper canopy, the Northern Parula flutters at the edges of branches plucking insects. This bluish gray warbler with yellow highlights breeds in forests laden with Spanish moss or beard lichens, from Florida to the boreal forest, and it’s sure to give you “warbler neck.” It hops through branches bursting with a rising buzzy trill that pinches off at the end. Its white eye crescents, chestnut breast band, and yellow-green patch on the back set it apart from other warblers. [All About Birds]
Northern Parula Facts [All About Birds]
- Before this species received the name Northern Parula (a diminutive form of parus, meaning little titmouse), Mark Catesby, an English naturalist, called it a “finch creeper” and John James Audubon and Alexander Wilson called it a “blue yellow-backed warbler.”
- Northern Parulas have an odd break in their breeding range. They breed from Florida north to the boreal forest of Canada but skip parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and some states in the Northeast. The reason for their absence may have to do with habitat loss and increasing air pollution, which affects the growth of moss on trees that they depend on for nesting.
- Some bird names are hard to pronounce, and the Northern Parula has started its share of lively debates. Most people say “par-OOH-la” or “PAR-eh-la,” while others say “PAR-you-la.”
- The oldest recorded Northern Parula was a female, at least 5 years, 11 months old when she was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Maryland.