Meet the Acrobatic Nashville Warbler

Learn how to identify Nashville warblers. See what these tiny, active songbirds look like, learn about their habitat and what they like to eat.

nashville warblerCourtesy Andy RauppHow to Identify Nashville Warblers

A Nashville warbler’s most distinct marking is its white eye ring. Also look for a gray head and a yellow throat and chest. This bird was discovered by pioneer birder Alexander Wilson in Nashville, Tennessee. Despite its name, this warbler doesn’t nest in Tennessee. The species breeds much farther north in bogs and coniferous woods, among other habitats. During spring migration, look for the quick, active Nashville warbler in thickets and small trees. They primarily spend the winter in Mexico.

Nashville warblers eat insects, so they seldom come to bird feeders. However, you may be able to attract these birds with a birdbath, because migrating warblers are strongly drawn to water.

“I took this photo of an acrobatic Nashville warbler hanging on my backyard cherry tree in spring. It’s special to me because I live in the suburbs and don’t often see migrating warblers in my yard. This Nashville warbler was catching insects buzzing around the blooms,” says Andy Raupp of Elgin, Illinois.

Check out 10 spring warblers you should know.

nashville warblerCourtesy Trisha Snider

“There’s a nice quiet spot along the cliffs in a little village in Ontario called Port Bruce. I love spending a few quiet days there in fall, watching the warblers migrate. You just never know what you might see. On this particular day, a beautiful Nashville warbler made an appearance and was quite photogenic as I sat and photographed it,” says Trisha Snider of St. Thomas, Ontario.

Next, learn how to identify yellow warblerspalm warblersmagnolia warblers and Wilson’s warblers.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.