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Canada Warbler

Cardellina canadensis

Length: 4.75 inches Wingspan: 7.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Black necklace, yellow underparts, light eye-ring, blue-gray upperparts.

Canada Warbler - Cardellina canadensisWhile not a particularly shy bird, the Canada Warbler can be difficult to spot given its preference for dense undergrowth and brushy thickets.  They are often seen in pairs (possibly breeding pairs) during migration through the state. Known for their black "necklace" which stands out from a yellow throat and underside, they are sometimes known colloquially as the "necklace warbler".


Prefers thick undergrowth of mature forests, especially near water or wetlands, on its breeding grounds.  Found in forests and thickets during migration through the state.


Primarily insects and spiders.


Moves actively through foliage, gleaning insects from foliage and branches, and also flitting out to capture insects in mid-air as they are flushed by the warbler's movements.  They will also forage on the ground.


Non-breeder in South Dakota. On their breeding grounds, the nest of a Canada Warbler is a cup, built of grasses, weed stems, roots, strips of bark, and leaves, lined with finer material such as grasses, hair, and moss. It is placed on the ground in a protected area, usually at the base of a shrub or other clump of vegetation. The female selects the nest site, builds the nest, and lays between 3 and 6 eggs. She alone incubates them, with the eggs hatching after about 12 days. The young fledge from the nest about 10 days after hatching.


The song of a Canada Warbler is a fast jumble of musical notes, with songs often varying among individual birds. The call note is a simple chek.


Summers in central and eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region, the Northeastern U.S., and at higher elevations in the Appalachians.  Winters in South America. Canada Warblers may be seen either in spring or fall migration in South Dakota.

Interactive eBird Map:

Click to access an interactive eBird map of Canada Warbler sightings

Similar Species:

Possibly confused with other warbler species with grayish upperparts and yellow underparts:

Magnolia Warbler 9 - Setophaga magnolia Magnolia Warbler 6 - Setophaga magnolia Kirtland's Warbler - Setophaga kirtlandii Yellow-throated Warbler - Setophaga dominica
Magnolia Warbler Magnolia Warbler Kirtland's Warbler Yellow-throated Warbler

Conservation Status:

Survey records such as the Breeding Bird Survey show a decline in recent years, likely due to habitat loss, especially on South American wintering grounds. Canada Warblers are also a somewhat common host to Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism. However, they are still found over a relatively broad geographic area and are relatively common in parts of that range. The IUCN considers the Canada Warbler to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information:

  1. Boreal Songbird Initiative - Canada Warbler
  2. WhatBird - Canada Warbler
  3. Audubon Guide - Canada Warbler

Photo Information:

May 21st, 2020 - Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, South Dakota - by Terry Sohl

Audio File Credits:


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Canada Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon migrant in the eastern part of the state, accidental in the west.

Additional Canada Warbler Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Canada Warbler 1 - Cardellina canadensisCanada Warbler 2 - Cardellina canadensisCanada Warbler 3 - Cardellina canadensisCanada Warbler 4 - Cardellina canadensisCanada Warbler 5 - Cardellina canadensisCanada Warbler 6 - Cardellina canadensis