All About Black-Throated Blue (and Green!) Warblers

These birds have similar names, but they look and sound different. Learn to identify black-throated blue warblers and black-throated green warblers.

black throated blue warbler DeboraparkerCourtesy Debora ParkerHow to Identify Black-Throated Blue Warblers

When identifying black-throated blue warblers, look for field marks like the white belly and white wing spot. The male’s dark colors reflect this bird’s favorite migration habitat: in the shadows of undergrowth in eastern woods. Females look completely different, with dull olive coloring.

These lovely birds was migrate north from Jamaica to the deep forest undergrowth of the Northeast or beyond to southeastern Canada. One place to see these birds is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Look for black-throated blue warblers in the hardwood forests. Primarily insect eaters, in fall and winter the warblers will eat berries, like beautyberry.

black throated blue warbler Bell 061813Courtesy David Bell

“During last fall’s migration, I saw six different warblers, but my favorite was the beautiful male black-throated blue warbler. I feel very fortunate to have snapped a photo, since warblers never seem to stand still,” says Nancy Tully of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Learn how to identify palm warblers and yellow-rumped warblers.

Black-Throated Blue Warbler Nest

This warbler nests near the ground in a shrub such as rhododendron. Females, with their overall gray-green plumage and virtually no blue, are able to hide well while nesting. Learn about 8 different kinds of bird nests and how to spot them.

Black-Throated Blue Warbler Song

This bird’s song is a distinct zerr-zerr-zree.

black throated green warbler Laura Pettigrew 17Courtesy Laura Pettigrew

How to Identify Black-Throated Green Warblers

A common migrant, the black-throated green warbler has a deep black throat, yellow head, olive-green back and two white wing bars. They are called “green” because both males and females have olive backs. The species nests in northern coniferous forests and mixed forests in the Appalachians.

Black-Throated Green Warbler Song

You might hear this warbler before you see it. Listen for the male’s recognizable buzzy song, zoo, zee, zoo zoo zee, and then look up—way up! These birds stay high in treetops.

Next, check out 10 spring warblers you should know.

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.