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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga townsendi
POPULATION: 20 million
HABITAT: Breeds in coniferous forest; winters along Pacific Coast and in Mexican and Central American highlands.
The striking black-and-yellow Townsend’s Warbler is named for American naturalist and collector John Kirk Townsend, who first described this bird in 1834 during an expedition crossing the Rockies to reach the Pacific Ocean.
The Townsend’s Warbler is part of a larger “superspecies” — a group of bird species that are closely related, but developed in geographic isolation from each other. The Townsend’s Warbler, along with the Hermit, Golden-cheeked
Black-throated Green, and Black-throated Gray Warblers, is considered part of the Black-throated Green superspecies, or virens group.