Kentucky Warbler

person holding a Kentucky warbler in their hand
Bird researcher holding a Kentucky warbler during a bird survey

NPS Photo

Geothlypis formosa

Kentucky warblers are found in Big Thicket during the summer months, when they nest, but will fly to South America for the winter. They are found throughout the southeastern United States during the summer months.

Kentucky warblers are mostly carnivorous birds who eat many types of insects from ants to caterpillars. They will also eat berries. They forage by searching for insects through the leaf litter or leaping up to grab insects from the underside of leaves above them.

Male Kentucky warblers will defend breeding territories, singing almost constantly to warn off other males. Males will work with the female to build a nest of leaves, weeds, and grass on the ground. The female will incubate four or five eggs for about 12 days. The newly hatched chicks are fed mostly by the female. Kentucky warblers will be ready to leave the nest eight to ten days after hatching.

Coates-Estrada, R., & Estrada, A. (1989). Avian attendance and foraging at army-ant swarms in the tropical rain forest of Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 281-292.

Kaufman, K. (2001). Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Morse, S. F., & Robinson, S. K. (1999). Nesting success of a Neotropical migrant in a multiple‐use, forested landscape. Conservation Biology, 13(2), 327-337.

Last updated: May 2, 2021

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