Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)


French: Paruline noir et blanc German: Kletterwaldsänger Spanish: Reinita trepadora

Motacilla varia


, 1766,

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


Has hybridized with Setophaga cerulea and S. fusca, and probably also with S. virens. Monotypic.


C & S Canada (from NE British Columbia, extreme SE Yukon and SW Northwest Territories E to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) and S in E USA to Gulf states (excluding Gulf coastal region). Migrates to region from Gulf of Mexico coast and Florida S throughout Central America and Caribbean to NW South America (mainly in Andes S to Peru), wintering less commonly also on S North American Atlantic coast and in Baja California.

Descriptive notes

11–13 cm; 8·8–15·2 g. Unmis­takable, fairly stocky and relatively short-tailed parulid with boldly striped black-and-white plumage and distinctive... read more


Two song types. Type 1 song a fairly long series of very high-pitched, thin, squeaky double notes,... read more


Breeds in variety of deciduous and mixed forests and woodlands, especially in damp areas, favouring... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on insects and other arthropods; takes fruit occasionally in winter. Forages at all levels, by climbing up and down trunks and main... read more


Season late Apr to early Aug (mainly May–Jul), egg-laying mainly Apr–Jun. Nest a cup of grass, leaves, bark strips, moss and... read more


Short-distance to long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds during Jul and early Aug, N birds... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common throughout range. No evidence of overall change in status, although local increases recorded, and also declines in... read more

Recommended citation

Curson, J. (2019). Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 September 2019).