Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)


French: Paruline à calotte noire German: Mönchswaldsänger Spanish: Reinita de Wilson

Muscicapa pusilla

A. Wilson

, 1811,

southern New Jersey, USA


Races form W and E groups, which differ clearly in DNA#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. pileolata (Pallas, 1811) – Western Wilson's Warbler – N Alaska S along coast to C British Columbia, including Queen Charlotte Is, also in W USA S in Rockies to N New Mexico and in coastal mountain ranges to C California; migrates to region from NW Mexico S to W Panama.
  • C. p. chryseola (Ridgway, 1902) – Pacific coast and W slope of coastal mountain ranges from SW British Columbia S to S California; migrates to region from NW Mexico (including Baja California) S to Panama.
  • C. p. pusilla (A. Wilson, 1811) – Eastern Wilson's Warbler – C & S Canada (Mackenzie district of Northwest Territories and N Alberta E to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) and NE USA (New England); migrates to region from E Mexico S to Costa Rica, also extreme S USA (extreme SE Texas and SW Gulf coast).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12 cm; 5·4–10·5 g. Male nominate race has solid black cap, yellow forehead and face (washed olive on ear-coverts), isolating dark eye;... read more


    Song a series of staccato "chip" notes, with some regional variation: nominate race sings... read more


    Breeds in various wooded habitats, including open coniferous and mixed forest, especially boggy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mainly on insects and spiders (Araneae); occasionally eats berries and the honeydew produced by scale insects (Coccoidea) in winter.... read more


    Season Apr–Jul, exceptionally to early Aug, egg-laying mostly Jun; some Pacific coast populations appear to be regularly double-... read more


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

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common throughout range, and abundant in parts of W North America; less common in much of E. Estimates of breeding density... read more

    Recommended citation

    Curson, J. & de Juana, E. (2020). Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla). 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 20 February 2020).