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Nashville Warbler

Vermivora ruficapilla

Length: 4.75 inches Wingspan: 7.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Light eye-ring, yellow throat, yellow belly and undertail coverts, no wing-bars.

Nashville Warbler - Vermivora ruficapillaNashville Warblers are named for the location at which the species was first documented, even though it is just a migrant through the Nashville area.  They are more visible than many migrating warblers, as they generally forage rather low in brush or small trees.  Two distinct breeding populations exist, one in the Pacific Northwest, and one in the upper Midwest, the Northeast, and southeastern Canada.  Western populations used to be called another species, the "Calaveras Warbler".


Breeds in a wide variety of habitats, including deciduous, coniferous or mixed forest, as well as thickets and brushy fields.


Almost exclusively insects. 


Primarily moves about low in the vegetation, gleaning insects from flowers and leaves.  Nesting occurs on the ground.


Non-breeder in South Dakota. On their breeding grounds, Nashville Warbler females build a small cup nest on the ground, typically next to the base of a shrub or thick clump of herbaceous vegetation. The nest is constructed of twigs, moss, roots, and strips of bark, lined with finer grasses and animal hair. The female lays four or five eggs, with both parents helping to incubate them. The young hatch after about 12 days, and fledge from the nest about 10 days after hatching.


The song of a Nashville Warbler begins with a series of sweet, two-note phrases, followed by a rapid trilling at a lower pitch. They have multiple short call notes.


Summers throughout the Great Lakes region, the northeastern U.S., parts of the northwestern U.S., and south-central and southeast Canada.  Winters in Mexico and Central America.

Interactive eBird map:

 Click here to access interactive eBird map of Nashville Warbler sightings

Similar Species:

Nashville Warblers have a somewhat similar appearance to a few other warbler species (all migrants in South Dakota)

Connecticut Warbler - Oporornis agilis Virginia's Warbler - Oreothlypis virginiae Virginia's Warbler - Oreothlypis virginiae Mourning Warbler - Geothlypis philadelphia
Connecticut Warbler Virginia's Warbler Virginia's Warbler Mourning Warbler

Conservation Status:

Nashville Warblers are found across a broad geographic area, and are common in parts of their range. Surveys over the last few decades show increases in overall populations. The IUCN considers the Nashville Warbler to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information:

  1. BirdWeb - Nashville Warbler
  2. WhatBird - Nashville Warbler
  3. Audubon Guide - Nashville Warbler

Photo Information:

September 2008 - Minnehaha County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos:

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

Audio File Credits:

Click on the map below for a higher resolution view

Nashville Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon spring migrant and common fall migrant in the eastern part of the state.  Accidental in the west.

Additional Nashville Warbler Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Nashville Warbler 1 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 2 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 3 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 4 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 5 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 6 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 7 - Leiothlypis ruficapillaNashville Warbler 8 - Leiothlypis ruficapilla