Setophaga striata

Status:  Fairly common regular spring migrant east and central, uncommon west. Rare casual fall migrant statewide.

Documentation:  Specimen: UNSM ZM6873, 15 May 1901 Beatrice, Gage Co.

Taxonomy:  No subspecies are recognized (Pyle 1997).

Spring:  Apr 18,19,19 <<<>>> Jun 7,7,8

Migrants occur from late Apr through early Jun. Some earlier undocumented reports may have resulted from confusion with Black-and-white Warbler, normally a much earlier migrant than Blackpoll Warbler. Later reports are 10 Jun 1998 Kingsley Dam, Keith Co, 11 Jun 1971 Lancaster Co, 19 Jun 1981 Garden Co, 20 Jun 1988 Chase Co, and 21 Jun 1998 Wehrspann Lake, Sarpy Co.

In contrast to Bay-breasted Warbler, which is rare in spring but uncommon in fall, Blackpoll Warbler is fairly common in spring and only casual in fall. Identification of fall Blackpoll Warblers should be made very carefully, as most migrate eastward to the Atlantic coast and then as much as 3000 km across water to the Caribbean and South America (DeLuca et al 2013). Indeed, banding data from Iowa (Dinsmore et al 1984) show that 84% of banded Blackpoll Warblers occurred in spring, which is remarkably similar to Nebraska sight reports, where 88% of the reports are for spring.

  • High counts:  95 at Wilderness Park, Lancaster Co 11 May 2018, 37 in the Panhandle 15-16 May 2006, 31 at Geneva, Fillmore Co 17 May 1999, and 28 in Sarpy Co 13 May 1995.
    A total of about 450 were reported in 2018.

Fall:  Aug 21,27,28 <<<>>> Oct 26,26,29

Although there are about 53 fall reports, many, if not most, are probably misidentifications; this species is less-than-annual in occurrence in fall, with reports in only six of the years 2008-2017.

Fall departure is rather late for a wood-warbler. There are several reports for the Panhandle, where it is as common in fall as it is in the east; it is possible that these westerly fall migrants may be mis-oriented from a southeast direction to one to the southwest (de Sante 1973, DeLuca et al 2013). Fall Panhandle reports are 2 Sep 1979 Garden Co, 3 Sep 1981 Garden Co, 7 Sep 1998 Crescent Lake NWR, Garden Co, 15 Sep 1974 Dawes Co, 18 Sep 2014 banded and photographed Dawes Co, 24 Sep 1998 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co, 30 Sep 1979 Dawes Co, 1 Oct 1994 Sheridan Co, 9 Oct 1994 Dawes Co, and 13 Oct 1979 Garden Co (Williams 1980).


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

Literature Cited

DeLuca, W., R. Holberton, P.D. Hunt, and B.C. Eliason. 2013. Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

DeSante, D. F. 1973. An analysis of the fall occurrences and nocturnal orientations of vagrant wood warblers (Parulidae) in California. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.

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

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

Williams, F. 1980. Southern Great Plains Region. American Birds 34: 176-179.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2018.  Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online