The Prairie Warbler is poorly named, as they are primarily found
in shrubby dense thickets. Much of their preferred habitat is a result of
forest disturbance or the abandonment of farm fields. As these areas
eventually progress to a mature forest again, they are forced to find new areas
of disturbance to colonize.
brushy habitat and thickets, such as second growth forest, forest edges, shrubby
forest undergrowth, and brushy fields. Can also be found in mangrove
swamps in Florida.
Diet: Primarily feeds on insects.
Will also occasionally take berries or sap from sapsucker wells.
Behavior: Forages by moving through the foliage,
gleaning insects from leaves and branches. Will also glean insects
from plants while hovering, or fly out to capture flying insects in mid-air.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Migration: Summers throughout much of the eastern United States, except in the upper
Midwest/Great Lakes region, and northern New England. Winters in Florida
and the Caribbean, with some Florida birds being permanent residents.
Conservation Status: Numbers appear to have declined in recent
decades, possibly due to habitat changes. However, they are still found
over a wide geographic region, and are common in some areas.
The IUCN lists the
Prairie Warbler as a species of "Least Concern".
International - Prairie Warbler
Special Note: The photo on this page, and all the
photos accessed through the image chips or links below, are of a very
misplaced Prairie Warbler who was found by a group of birders at Newton
Hills State Park in Lincoln County, Spring 2007. Despite the nearest
normal breeding range being found in Missouri, this bird was singing
furiously along Sergeant Creek in the Park. It had obviously
established territory, singing repeatedly from a series of perches. It
was postulated that the bird may be courting female Yellow Warblers.
This male Prairie Warbler was found constantly chasing male Yellow Warblers
in the area. In June, I found this male Prairie Warbler gathering
caterpillars, with several in his mouth at once, as if feeding young.
Photo Information: June 5th, 2007 - Newton Hills
State Park, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Prairie Warbler photos.