Setophaga caerulescens

Status:  Rare casual spring and fall migrant statewide.

Documentation:  Specimen: UNSM ZM6834, 19 Sep 1919 Monroe Canyon, Sioux Co (Mickel and Dawson 1920).

Taxonomy:  No subspecies are recognized (Pyle 1997).

Spring: There are only about 34 reports for spring; documented records among those are in May.

This species is recorded more often in fall than spring; about 55% of the reports are in fall, but even then it is less-than-annual in occurrence.  Of 40 banded in Iowa, all were banded in fall but one (Dinsmore et al 1984), and Kansas data are similar (Thompson et al 2011).

The only reports from the Panhandle are 7-9 May 1981 Sioux Co (Rosche 1982), 15 May 1998 Crescent Lake NWR, Garden Co (Brogie 1999), 15 May 2011 Sioux Co, and 27 May 2004 Gering Cemetery, Scotts Bluff Co.

Fall:  Documented records are during 14-25 Sep, with an earlier date 1 Sep 1973 Sarpy Co, and later dates 28 Sep 2015 Cass Co, 6 Sep 1983 Hoskins Park, Wayne Co, and 6 Sep 1983 Erickson Farm, Wayne Co.

There are about 40 reports in all, distributed statewide, about half from the Panhandle, including the specimen cited above, and another specimen 8 Oct 1920 Sioux Co (UNSM ZM6833). This species has occurred in eight of the past 12 years (2008-2019), with three reported in 2009 and 2010.


NWR: National Wildlife Refuge
UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum


Photograph (top) of a Black-throated Blue Warbler at Omaha, Douglas Co mid-May circa 2015 by Richard Pouchert.

Literature Cited

Brogie, M.A. 1999. 1998 (Tenth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 67: 141-152.

Dinsmore, J.J., T.H. Kent, D. Koenig, P.C. Petersen, and D.M. Roosa. 1984. Iowa birds. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA.

Mickel, C.E., and R.W. Dawson. 1920. Some interesting records of Nebraska birds for the year 1919.  Wilson Bulletin 32: 73-79.

Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I, Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.

Rosche, R.C. 1982. Birds of northwestern Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota, an annotated checklist. Cottonwood Press, Crawford, Nebraska, USA.

Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas.  University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2021.  Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Update 4 Apr 2021