Meet the Majestic Magnolia Warbler

Look for brilliantly colored magnolia warblers in trees and shrubs during spring migration as these birds head toward their northern nesting sites.

magnolia warblerCourtesy Nancy Tully
Magnolia warbler

Like multi-colored ornaments on trees and shrubs in spring, warblers dazzle and delight birders. These 5-to-6-inch long insect eating birds fly from Central and South America to breed in the U.S. and Canada. A total of 50 warbler species are regularly spotted during migration and nesting season, according to the American Ornithological Society. The male magnolia warbler has a yellow throat and breast  that is boldly streaked with black (similar to a necklace), a blue head and white wing bars. Females have a gray head.

Check out photos of warblers you should add to your life list.

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Female magnolia warbler

Ornithologist Alexander Wilson named the species in 1810 after discovering it in a magnolia tree in Mississippi. This easy-to-spot warbler hangs out in low shrubs and small trees, often perching at the tips of branches. During spring migration, magnolia warblers fly through the eastern half of the U.S. on the way to their breeding grounds in Canada and in northern states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin. They nest in the boreal forests. Meet the boreal birds of the Northwoods.

Warblers fly in large mixed groups at night, then land on vegetation at dawn seeking food. These birds don’t crave seeds, so they’re not frequent diners at backyard feeders. But it is possible to attract magnolia warblers to your yard or garden. Plant native trees and shrubs that attract the insects and larvae they eat to help draw them in.

Next, learn all about black-throated blue (and green!) warblers.

Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten is the executive editor of Birds & Blooms. She's been with the brand in various roles since 2007. She has many favorite birds (it changes with the seasons), but top picks include the red-headed woodpecker, Baltimore oriole and rose-breasted grosbeak. Her bucket list bird is the painted bunting.