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Blackpoll Warbler

Setophaga striata

Length: 5.25 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Black cap, white cheeks, white underparts with black side streaks, 2 white wing-bars

Blackpoll Warbler - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warblers are a champion migrant, often going non-stop from the Northeastern coast of the U.S. to northern South America every fall.  It's been estimated that the non-stop flight may take individual birds up to 3 days to complete. Blackpoll Warblers are usually fairly common in Spring migration through South Dakota, but are much less common during the fall.


Deciduous woodlands, parks, gardens in migration.  Stays in conifer forests and thickets on breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska.


Mostly insects and berries, including aphids, beetles, mosquitoes, ants, termites, and spiders.  Will also eat seeds on occasion.


Moves deliberately along foliage and branches of trees and shrubs, gleaning insects from the vegetation as it goes.  Also is capable of flycatching, flying out from a perch and capturing insects in mid-air.


A non-breeder in South Dakota. On their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska, the nest of a Blackpoll Warblers is constructed by the female, placed near the trunk of a small evergreen tree, usually from 1 to 20 feet from the ground. The nest is built of sticks and grasses, sometimes lined with lichen, feathers, or moss. The female lays 3 to 5 eggs, and she alone incubates them. The young hatch after about 12 days.

Interactive eBird Map:

Click to access an interactive eBird map of Blackpoll Warbler sightings


The song of a Blackpoll Warbler is a short series of notes, quiet at first, rising in volume, and then fading again at the end. Both males and females also have a sharp chip note call.

1Click here to hear the song of a Blackpoll Warbler

2Click here to hear the call notes of a Blackpoll Warbler


Summers in central to northern Canada, winters northern South America. In South Dakota, Blackpoll Warblers are much more common as a spring migrant than they are as a fall migrant.

Similar Species:

If seen well, male Blackpoll Warblers do have a distinctive plumage pattern. Females may be more difficult to identify. Species most likely to be confused with a Blackpoll Warbler include the following:

Conservation Status:

Blackpoll Warblers are still found over a very broad geographic range, and are common in parts of that range. However, surveys in recent decades have shown substantial declines in overall populations. Reasons for the decline are not clearly understood, but likely includes a combination of both habitat loss and climate change. As a result of the recent declines in populations, as of 2018 the IUCN cautiously listed the Blackpoll Warbler as a "Near Threatened" species.

Further Information:

1) BirdWeb - Blackpoll Warbler

2) WhatBird - Blackpoll Warbler

3) Audubon Guide - Blackpoll Warbler

Photo Information:

May 13, 2005 -- Minnehaha County -- Terry L. Sohl

Additional Photos:

Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Blackpoll Warbler photos.

Audio File Credits:

1Aiden Place. Recorded in Rutland County, Vermont on July 9th, 2019. Original recording and information from xeno-canto.

2Lucas Berrigan. Recorded in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia on June 5th, 2016. Original recording and information from xeno-canto.

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Blackpoll Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common spring migrant in the eastern part of the state, rare in the west.  Much less common fall migrant.

Additional Blackpoll Warbler Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Blackpoll Warbler 1 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 2 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 3 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 4 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 5 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 5 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 7 - Setophaga striataBlackpoll Warbler 8 - Setophaga striata