Geothlypis philadelphia

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

Documentation:  Specimen: UNSM ZM10773, 25 May 1909 Lincoln, Lancaster Co.

Taxonomy:  No subspecies are recognized (Pyle 1997).

Spring:  Apr 29, May 1,2 <<<>>> Jun 12,13,15

This species is a late migrant, with Jun reports not uncommon. Migration takes place from early May through early Jun.

There are seven documented Panhandle records: a male was at Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co 15 May 2020, a male with no eye-ring was at West Lawn Cemetery, Gering, Scotts Bluff Co 17 May 2002; a specimen, USNM 481623, was collected 27 May 1965 by Short (1966) in Sheridan Co; one at Morrill, Scotts Bluff Co 27 May 1997 was described (Brogie 1998), one was photographed at Crescent Lake NWR, Garden Co 19 May 2008 and singles were there 28 May 2009 and 24 May 2016. There are also undocumented Panhandle reports 12 May 1974 Scotts Bluff Co, 19 May 1992 Dawes Co (Williams 1983), and 27 May 1984 Sioux Co.

There are several west-central reports, notably in Keith Co: three with “no hint of an eyering” were banded at Lake Ogallala 16 May 1996, 17 May 1993, and 25 May 1993 (Brown et al 2012), a single was at Lake Ogallala 16 May 2008, and a singing male was at Clear Creek WMA 27 May 2004.  One was seen by several NOU members and photographed at Valentine City Park, Cherry Co 16-17 May 2015, and a dead bird found 22 May 1943 in Lincoln Co was residing in the North Platte High School collection (Tout 1947).

  • High counts: 12 at Fontenelle Forest, Sarpy Co 21 May 2013, 10 in Douglas Co 15 May 1996, 7 in southeast Washington Co 25 May 2003, and 6 at Fontenelle Forest 23 May 2008.
  • A total of 38 were reported in the period 15-30 May 1996, about 30 during 10-29 May 2008, and 25-30 during 9-29 May 1995.

Fall:  Aug 21, 21, 22 <<<>>> Oct 21, 24, 26

Migration is from late Aug through late Oct, with earlier reports all from Lancaster Co 6-17 Aug 2012, 18 Aug (no year given), and a later sighting 2 Nov 1982.

The only reports from the Panhandle are of an adult male in Kimball Co 29 Aug 1998 (Brogie 1999) and an immature at Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co 4 Oct 2003. Singles were westerly in Lincoln Co 2 Sep 2019 Mlodinow,, Red Willow Co 7 Sep 2010 and Furnas Co 21 Sep 2014.

  • High counts:  4 in Lincoln, Lancaster Co 12 Sep 2013 and 3 in Sarpy Co 1 Sep 1995.


NOU: Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union
NWR: National Wildlife Refuge
UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum
WMA: Wildlife Management Area (State)


Photograph (top) of a Mourning Warbler at Fontenelle Forest, Sarpy Co 16 May 1983 by Phil Swanson.

Literature Cited

Brogie, M.A. 1998. 1997 (Ninth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 66: 147-159.

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

Brown, C.R., M.B. Brown, P.A. Johnsgard, J. Kren, and W.C. Scharf. 1996. Birds of the Cedar Point Biological Station area, Keith and Garden Counties, Nebraska: Seasonal occurrence and breeding data. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 23: 91-108.

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

Short, L.L., Jr. 1966. Some spring migrant and breeding records from northern Nebraska. NBR 34: 18.

Tout, W. 1947. Lincoln County birds. Published by the author, North Platte, Nebraska, USA.

Williams, F. 1983. Southern Great Plains Region. American Birds 37: 886-888.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2020.  Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 1 July 2020