Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)


French: Paruline à flancs marron German: Gelbscheitel-Waldsänger Spanish: Reinita de Pensilvania

Motacilla pensylvanica


, 1766,

“Pensylvania” = near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Appears to be most closely related to S. striata#R. May have hybridized with S. fusca. Monotypic.


S Canada (from Saskatchewan E to Nova Scotia), S through Great Lakes region to NE USA (Minnesota E to New England) and S in Appalachians to N Georgia and N Alabama. Migrates to non-breeding grounds mainly from SE Mexico S to Panama, rare to NW Colombia and NW Venezuela; a few winter in Caribbean.

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm; 7·5–13·1 g. Male breeding has yellow crown, thick black eyestripe, white forehead and side of face, and narrow black ‘moustache... read more


Has two song types. Typical Type 1 song a series of loud whistled notes with terminal flourish,... read more


Breeds in young second-growth deciduous forest, forest edges and clearings, brushy thickets, and... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds mainly on insects and other arthropods, mainly spiders (Araneae); also some seeds and berries in winter. Forages mainly at low to... read more


Season May–Aug, occasionally to early Sept; egg-laying May–Jul, occasionally as late as early Aug. Nest a cup of grasses,... read more


Long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds in late Aug and early Sept, arriving on winter... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common. Breeds occasionally outside normal range in C Alberta (W Canada) and Colorado (WC USA). Being a bird of scrub and young... read more

Recommended citation

Curson, J. (2020). Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica). 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 23 February 2020).