Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia)


French: Paruline triste German: Graukopf-Waldsänger Spanish: Reinita plañidera

Sylvia Philadelphia

A. Wilson

, 1810,

within a few miles of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Forms a species pair with G. tolmiei. Also known to have hybridized with G. trichas, G. formosa and Cardellina canadensis. Reported hybrids with Oporornis agilis (which see) have not been confirmed; reported hybrid with Vermivora cyanoptera now considered to have involved interbreeding of latter species with G. formosa. Monotypic.


CW & S Canada (SE Yukon and E British Columbia E to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) and in NE USA S to N Illinois, N Ohio, N New England and, in Appalachians, to West Virginia. Migrates to Central America (S from S Nicaragua) and NW South America.

Descriptive notes

13–15 cm; 9·6–17·9 g. Male has dark grey hood down to upper breast, heavy black mottling on breast; occasionally a whitish narrow broken eyering or... read more


Song rather variable, but consists of a series of 5–6 loud, slurred and rolling disyllabic... read more


Breeds in forest clearings and edges where dense undergrowth, often by bogs; also in young second-... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds almost entirely on insects and other arthropods, especially spiders (Araneae); occasionally takes white corpuscles at leaf bases of... read more


Season May to early Sept, mainly late Jun to Aug; egg-laying May–Jul, mainly late Jun and Jul. Nest a bulky cup of grasses and dead... read more


Long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds from late Jul to mid-Aug, moving S through... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally fairly common. Populations appear to be stable or increasing locally (e.g. in Massachusetts and Michigan). This due... read more

Recommended citation

Curson, J. (2020). Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia). 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 27 January 2020).