Prothonotary Warbler

photo by Phil Swanson

Protonotaria citrea
L 5 1/2″ (14 cm).

Song or calls:
Song is series of loud, ringing “zweet” notes.

Description: Short-tailed; very long-billed; large, dark, prominent eyes. Male has golden yellow head and underparts; white undertail coverts; blue-gray wings without wing bars; olive-green back; and blue-gray tail has large white patches. Female is duller and has a less golden head.

prothonotary warbler
Habitat: Breeding birds are restricted to moist bottomland forests, wooded swamps, and periodically flooded woodlands that are in the vicinity of running water or pools.

Where in Nebraska: Migrants occur in a wider variety of wooded areas. Uncommon to occasional spring and fall migrant in southeastern Nebraska. Local summer resident north to Sarpy County. Vagrants occur further west.

Field Notes: Nests in tree cavities; usually selects a low site along streams or surrounded by sluggish or stagnant water.

Fun Facts: The Prothonotary Warbler is often called the “Golden Swamp Warbler” because of its preference for flooded forests. Males builds dummy nest and the female alone builds the nest used. Fledglings have the ability to swim.

male Prothonotary Warbler - photo by Phil Swanson 
(click image for larger view)