Saturday, April 30, 2011

Red-faced Warblers

... Someone is watching us!

Red-faced Warbler (Photos by Narca)

Red-faced Warblers are truly stunning. They are arriving now in the Chiricahuas, although many of them are still foraging at low elevations or moving with big mixed flocks in the higher mountains. Soon they will settle down on their breeding territories in the higher Chiricahuas, where they are most likely to be encountered in montane forest near streams and on cooler, north-facing slopes.

Soon the females will arrive (as with many migrant passerines, the males arrive first) and very quickly will choose their nest sites and begin to construct nests in holes in the ground. 

Male Red-faced Warblers, like this one, are slightly brighter than females.

The BNA account by Thomas Martin and Patricia Barber mentions that males have never been seen helping the females to build a nest, although they will sometimes build an alternate nest nearby, which isn't used for breeding. Usually the nests are completely concealed, often by a roof of vegetation, a log, or a rock. Here the females lay their clutches of about 4 or 5 eggs. Occasionally an unrelated female will slip an egg into another female's nest.

Cover art for the Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas
(Acrylics by Narca)

The young warblers fledge about 12 days after they hatch, but remain dependent upon their parents for tasty insects for perhaps a week. Estimates suggest that 75% of broods are successfully raised to fledging––a high rate of productivity!


  1. The atlas cover is gorgeous!

  2. Many thanks, Kathy! I pulled all sorts of leaf litter into my studio as reference material; sycamore and oak leaves were taped to the drawing board.