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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga citrina
POPULATION: 5.2 million
HABITAT: Breeds in the understory of mature hardwood forests and wooded swamps; winters in lowland areas of the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.
The Hooded Warbler is territorial on its wintering grounds in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, fiercely defending a defined feeding area against others of its species. Males and females use different habitats during the winter; males use mature forests and females frequent shrubby and flooded areas.
Like American Redstarts, Hooded Warblers constantly flick their tails open and closed as they work their way through the forest, flashing their white outer tail feathers. This “flashy” habit may startle insects out of hiding, making them easy prey for the bird. Hooded Warblers tend to feed low in the understory, gleaning insects off the ground or darting after them flycatcher-style.
The Hooded Warbler’s cheerful, ringing song, “tawee-tawee-tawee-tee-o,” often gives the bird’s presence away before it can be seen, especially since spotting the bird in its thick, dimly lit habitat is sometimes difficult.