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 Black-throated Gray Warbler

Status in Michigan

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Use the links below to view the Black-throated Gray Warbler reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Black-throated Gray Warbler sightings.
Black-throated Gray Warbler Archives Reports
Fall 2003 0
Spring 2003 0
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 0
Summer 2002 0
Spring 2002 12
Winter 01-02 46
Fall 2001 0
Summer 2001 0
Spring 2001 0
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 0
Summer 2000 0
Spring 2000 0
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 0
Spring/Summer 1999 0

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Black-throated Gray Warbler

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Black-throated Gray Warbler
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

(From: "The Warblers of North America," by: Frank M. Chapman)



Distinguishing Characteristics. - The general gray color, black or black and white throat and entire absence of yellow, except the spot before the eye readily distinguish this species. Length (skin), 4�30; wing, 2�40; tail, 2.00; bill,.40

Adult Male, Spring. -- Crown largely or entirely black; cheeks black bordered by white below; a broad white line behind the eye, a yellow spot before it; back gray, its center streaked with black; tail edged with gray, the two outer feathers largely white on both webs, third feather white on the inner web at the end; wings edged with gray, the secondaries internally margined with white, the greater and median coverts broadly tipped with white forming two conspicuous bars; throat and upper breast black (rarely mottled with white) sharply defined from rest of under parts, which are white; sides streaked with black.

Adult Male, Fall.--Similar to adult male in Spring but upper parts and cheeks more or less margined with brownish gray; throat margined with white, sides washed with brown, the black streaking obscured.

Young Male, Fall--Similar to adult male in Fall but generally no black in back, chin white, throat usually more or less mottled with white, sides browner, no white on secondaries.

Adult Female, Spring.--Similar to adult male in Spring and sometimes not distinguishable from it, but, as a rule, with less black on the head, back browner and less heavily streaked; wings and tail browner and with less white; throat and upper breast mottled with black and white.

Adult Female, Fall. --Similar to adult female in Spring but upper parts and cheeks washed with grayish brown, black of throat margined with white, sides tinged with brown, the black streaking obscured.

Young Female, Fall. --Not certainly distinguishable from adult female in Fall but often with less black.

Nestling. --Above brownish gray, a broad whitish postocular stripe; below gray, belly white, breast lightly streaked; wings and tail as in young.

General Distribution. -Western United States.

Summer Range.-Breeds from northern Lower California, southern California, southern Arizona and New Mexico; north to British Columbia and east to central Colorado (Idaho Springs).

Winter Range. --Winters in Mexico.

Spring Migration. -- The species enters southern California the first week in April and reaches southern British Columbia the third week in the month. The earliest dates in southern Arizona and southern New Mexico are included between April 6 and April g; while the species appears in the northern portion of its Colorado range early in May.

Fall Migration .--The last birds do not leave central California until the first week in October and the species does not desert the State until after the middle of the month.

The Bird and its Haunts. --"These birds are very plentiful during the breeding season in the mountains of southern Arizona. They may be found from an altitude of 4,000 to 9,000 feet, but are more common in the oak belt, from 4000 to 7,000 feet altitude, where a great many of them breed. Nevertheless, comparatively few nests are found. I believe the reason for this is, because, unlike other Warblers, these birds do not have a note of alarm nor do they show any signs of breeding. The birds are constantly on the jump, apparently catching insects. Even when flushed from the nest they will hop about in their usual unconcerned manner." (Howard'.)

Of this Warbler in California Walter Fisher writes: "The Black- throated Gray goes about its affairs in a quiet business-like manner suggesting the Lutescent Warbler, and differs, therefore, in temperament from both the Calaveras and Audubon Warblers which are always in evidence. It lives in chaparral such as deer brush, wild lilac of various species, scrub oak, and sometimes, particularly in the humid coast districts, among evergreens. It is fond of the neighborhood of clearings where it works constantly and carefully among low growth. Although it does not force itself upon one's attention it is a very active bird and during the day must cover considerable territory." (Fisher, MS.)

Bowles (4), writing from Oregon, says that in habits the Black- throated Gray suggests both the Black-throated Green and Prairie Warblers. Like the former, it likes tall trees with a preference for scattered conifers having a bushy undergrowth. Like the Prairie it prefers high and dry places, though it does not object to a swamp if the ground beneath the nest is dry.

Two pairs this writer watched while building "had the same way of going about it. The male followed the female very closely, scolding almost continuously, or perhaps making suggestions, as she did not seem to mind it and gathered materials and acted very much as if he was not there. This continuous scolding generally seems to indicate nest-building and is apparently the only direct method of finding the nest."

Near Pyramid Lake, in western Nevada, I found the Black- throated Gray in stunted junipers.

Song. --"Its song is a simple Warbler lay, zee-ee-zee-ee, ze, ze, ze, with the quiet woodsy quality of virens and caerulescens, so soothing to the ear." (Bailey.)

Nesting Site.--In Arizona Howard (3) found many nests of this species in dense thickets of scrub oak in the fork of the larger limbs quite often within reach of the ground, while other nests were placed high up in the pines. In the Sierras of California, Barlow (2), recording Carriger's observations, states that several nests "were found in the deer brush at from five to nine feet up and two were placed in pines, one twelve feet up on a small limb, and another fifty-two feet up on a horizontal limb."

In Oregon, Prill (1) writes that "the nest is placed in some small fir, generally not over five or six feet high; while Bowles' finds the nest of this species "from three feet and three inches to twenty-five feet fir near Tacoma."

Nest.--Howard (3) describes the nests as "very compact, of a deep cup shape, much like those of the Yellow Warbler. The nesting material varies according to locality." Prill(1) writes that the nest is "made of fine grass, profusely lined from the ground, oaks seeming the favorite in southern Oregon and with feathers." Bowles (4) states that "the nests externally are about 3x2 3/4 inches and internally 1 3/4x1 3/4 in diameter and depth. They are composed externally of grass and weed-stalks that must be several seasons old, being bleached, and very soft moss and feathers; lined with feathers (one had evidently been lined from a dead Steller Jay), horse, cow, and rabbit hair or fur, and sometimes the very fine stems of flowers of some kind of moss."

Eggs. -3 or 4, usually 4. Ground color white to very pale greenish white, delicately marked with specks and spots of red-brown, purplish, and under shell markings of pale lavender, forming a well- defined wreath around the large end with few spots and specks sparingly distributed over rest of the egg. Size; average, 69x50.

Nesting Dates. -- Mountains north of Pasadena, Calif., May 19, four small young in nest; June 26, three eggs incubated (Grinnell); Fyffe, Eldorado Co., Calif., June 5 (C. W. C.);Tacoma, Wash., May 14 - June 24 (Bowles).


(1) G. Prill, Black-throated Gray Warbler, (in Oregon), Oologist, IX, 1891, r28.
(2) C. Barlow, The Nesting Haunts of the Black-throated Gray Warbler (in Calif.), Bull. Cooper Orn. Club (=Condor), I, 1899, 96�
(3) 0. W. Howard, Summer Resident Warblers of Arizona, Bull. Cooper Orn. Club (=Condor), I, 1899, 64
(4) C. W. BOWLES, Notes on the Black-throated Gray Warbler (in Oregon), Condor, IV, 1902, 82.
(5) W. L. FINLEY, TWO Oregon Warblers, The Condor, VI, 1904, 31.

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