Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)


Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia)


French: Paruline à dos noir German: Goldwangen-Waldsänger Spanish: Reinita caridorada

Dendrœca [sic] chrysoparia

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1860,

Verapaz, Guatemala


Closely related to S. virens, S. townsendi, S. occidentalis and S. nigrescens; probably the sister-species of S. virens, and they have occasionally been treated as conspecific. Monotypic.


C Texas (mainly Edwards Plateau and the Balcones Escarpment), in S USA. Migrates to S Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, Honduras and NW Nicaragua; recent records from Costa Rica#R and Panama#R.

Descriptive notes

12–14 cm; 7–14·7 g. Male has sides of head yellow, broken by narrow black eyestripe and surrounded by black crown, neck and throat; upperparts also black;... read more


Two song types. Type 1 song a series of 4–5 buzzy lisping notes, second one lowest in pitch,... read more


Breeding habitat very specialized, consisting of open, scrubby mixed woodland dominated by oaks (... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds almost entirely on insects and other arthropods, especially caterpillars in breeding season, at least. Forages by gleaning and... read more


Season Apr–Jul, egg-laying Apr–Jun. Nest a large cup made from strips of Ashe juniper bark mixed with spider webs, grasses and... read more


Medium-distance migrant, moving between breeding and wintering grounds principally along E slope of... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Restricted range species: present in Edwards Plateau Secondary Area. Winter quarters mainly in North Central American Highlands EBA. Uncommon. Decreasing both in... read more

Recommended citation

Curson, J. (2020). Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia). 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 January 2020).