Black-throated Gray Warbler

Dendroica nigrescens

A small warbler of the American West, the Black-throated Gray Warbler is found in pine and mixed oak-pine forests west of the Rocky Mountains.

Interesting Information

  • The Black-throated Gray Warbler is considered a short-distance migrant, moving from its breeding areas in the western United States only as far south as Mexico.

  • Migrating warblers follow mountain ranges and the Pacific coastline southward. Despite these landmarks, however, some get lost. A few turn up every year in the eastern states as vagrants.

  • They pretend to have a broken wing to distract intruders from finding their nests.

  • A group of warblers has many collective nouns, including a "bouquet", "confusion", "fall", and "wrench" of warblers.


Adult Description

  • Small songbird.

  • Gray back.

  • White face and underparts.

  • Black mask, crown, throat (male), and striping on chest.

  • Two white wingbars.

  • Small yellow square in front of eye.

  • White spots in tail.

  • Length Range: 12-13 cm (4.75-5 in)

  • Weight: 9 g (0.3 oz)

  • Size: Very Small (3 - 5 in)

Sex Differences

Sexes Similar


Immature male like adult female, but immature female with mostly white throat.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Preferred habitats include shrubby openings in coniferous forests or mixed woods, dry scrub oak, pinyon and juniper, chaparral, and other low brushy areas.


They are foragers, and frequently search for food among low vegetation such as insects and caterpillars. Sometimes, they are able to hover over or catch insects in-flight.


Insects and caterpillars. Will eat sugar water, fruit, Nut



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae
Genus: Dendroica
Species: Dendroica nigrescens
    Subspecies: Dendroica nigrescens halseii
  Dendroica nigrescens nigrescens

Similar Species

Black-and-white Warbler has more heavily streaked breast, striped crown, and prefers to forage on trunks and main branches of trees rather than in leaves and smaller twigs.

Bird Sound

Song a series of buzzy notes, full of z's, "zeedle zeedle zeedle zeet-chee."

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution