Habitat: This bird lives in the treetops of mature, deciduous forests, higher than most other warblers, as it prefers forests with closed canopies. In eastern Ontario it will choose well-spaced large trees with high canopies and dense foliage.
Summer Range: In Canada, the Cerulean warbler breeds in southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec. Overall, in North America, this warbler breeds from southeastern Nebraska east to southern Ontario and southeastern New York, and south to eastern Texas, southeastern Louisiana, central Alabama, and North Carolina.
Winter Range: The wintering grounds for this warbler are in South America where it can be found in mixed-species foraging flocks with tropical tanagers and other species. They are concentrated on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in western South America.
Food: This bird forages in the treetops where it nests, eating primarily insects.
Breeding Behaviour: Breeding biology is not well known. Males arrive on breeding grounds first, followed by females a week later. Males help females choose a nesting site by softly singing as they follow their mate. Males will stay behind to guard the nest while females forage.
Nest Type and Egg Description: Nests are usually built high in a tall tree far out on a large branch, often near a clearing. The female uses spider webs, among other materials, to build the nest. If the first nesting fails, the female often uses spider web from the old nest to start a second nest because the spider web is too valuable to waste.
When the female leaves the nest, she does so in a peculiar way that is sometimes called “bungee jumping.” This involves dropping from the side of the nest with wings folded to her sides. Once she is well below the nest, she opens her wings and flies.
Conservation Status: Cerulean warbler numbers are declining faster than any other warbler in the United States. Its population is less than one-fifth what it was 40 years ago. The IUCN lists the Cerulean warbler as “vulnerable.”
Information on this page compiled by Jessie Blake.
BirdLife International. http://www.birdlife.org
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/eng/sct5/index_e.cfm
Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All About Birds. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/.
Ehrlich, Paul R. 1988. The Birder’s Handbook. Simon and Schuster, New York.
Godfrey, Earl W. 1986. Birds of Canada. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.
Hinterland Who’s Who. http://www.hww.ca
Leslie, Scott. 2006. Wetland Birds of North America. Key Porter Books, Toronto. NatureServe. InfoNatura. http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura/