Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)


French: Paruline à gorge noire German: Grünmantel-Waldsänger Spanish: Reinita dorsiverde

Motacilla virens

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Closely related to S. chrysoparia, S. townsendi, S. occidentalis and S. nigrescens; probably the sister-species of S. chrysoparia, and they have occasionally been considered conspecific. Has hybridized with S. townsendi; hybrid involving Mniotilta varia and (probably) present species at Long Point (in Ontario) in 1990. Proposed race waynei, accepted in HBW (described from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina), is now synonymized. Monotypic.


S Canada (extreme E British Columbia E to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) and S in NE USA to Wisconsin, S Michigan and New England, and in Appalachians to N Georgia and Alabama, with isolated populations in C Arkansas and coastal E USA (extreme SE Virginia S to South Carolina); migrates to E Central America and Caribbean, also locally Pacific slope of S Mexico, and in smaller numbers to S USA (S Texas, S Florida) and N Colombia and N Venezuela.

Descriptive notes

12·7–13 cm; 7·4–11·3 g. Male nominate race has olive ear-coverts surrounded broadly by yellow, unstreaked olive-green crown, nape and... read more


Two song types. Type 1 song a series of 5–6 buzzy, drawn-out notes, with penultimate lower... read more


Nominate race breeds in open coniferous forest, also mixed forest, especially where birch (... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds mainly on insects and other arthropods, especially caterpillars in breeding season, at least; takes some berries, especially poison... read more


Season May–Aug, egg-laying May–Jul. Nest a cup of grasses and shredded bark, lined with fine grasses, hair and feathers, placed... read more


Medium-distance to long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds from late Aug, arriving on... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common throughout range. Highest densities reported around L Superior and parts of NE USA; estimates range from 0·3–0... read more

Recommended citation

Curson, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens). 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 19 January 2020).