Canada warbler COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 3

Species Information

Name and classification

Wilsonia canadensis (Linnaeus, 1766) is commonly called the Canada Warbler. The French name is ‘Paruline du Canada’. The taxonomy is as follows:

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Parulidae

Genus: Wilsonia

Species: canadensis

Morphological description

The Canada Warbler is a small (total length 12–15 cm, body mass 9.5–12.5 g), brightly coloured bird with a thin bill and short tail. The males are typically more brightly coloured than the females and immatures, with bluish-grey upperparts and tail contrasting with a yellow neck and throat. The head is bluish with a black forehead and cheeks, which join with a band of well-defined black stripes that run across the breast. In both sexes, the supraloral stripe is yellow and the lores and anterior auriculars are black. The undertail coverts are white in all plumages. In the females, the upperparts and tail are dull bluish-grey and the throat and breast are yellow with fine, less distinct, brownish lines. The forehead and cheeks of the female are bluish-grey, rather than black as in the males. The adult plumage is kept year round. The plumage of the immatures is similar to that of the adults but duller (Conway 1999).

The characteristic plumage (i.e., bluish back, yellow breast and black stripes forming a collar) and song of the Canada Warbler differentiate it from most other species of warblers that breed in Canada. It can be confused with the Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia), which has a yellow breast with black stripes and the Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus), which also has a yellow breast and black cheek, which extends down the length of the throat.

Genetic description

No genetic studies have been conducted on the Canada Warbler (Conway 1999).

Designatable units

There are no subspecies of Canada Warbler (Conway 1999) and no known distinctions between populations that would warrant consideration of designatable units below the species level. This report is based on the species as a whole.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: