PROTHONOTARY WARBLER(Protonotaria citrea) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Prothonotary Warbler male has a yellow-orange head and yellow under parts, and an olive green back. Tail and most of the wings are grey. Tail has white spots. Bill and eyes black, legs and feet grey. Females similar to males, but the yellow is duller. The bird is approximately 12 cm (5 inches) long.
NAME: ‘Warbler’ refers to the generally melodious songs of those birds. The English name Prothonotary (and Latin genus name ‘Protonotaria’) means an ‘authorized scribe’, and was given to this species because some of those people were wearing yellow robes. The Latin species name ‘citrea’ means ‘citrus’, again in reference to the bird’s color. Also called ‘Swamp Warbler’.
HABITAT: Swampy and bottom land deciduous forests.
DIET: Forage in dense foliage near the ground for insects, arthropods and snails. Also seeds and berries when available in the winter.
NESTING: Nests in dead tree cavities such as those made by woodpeckers, will also use nest boxes if properly located. Male will sometimes build a few ‘dummy’ nests. Between three and six pink eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in southeast USA, migrates mainly to Central America and northern South America for the winter. Also known to breed in southern Ontario but is very rare in Canada.
Distribution map:
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island. Hypothetical (i.e. unconfirmed) sighting only so far.
CONSERVATION: The prothonotary warbler is listed as ‘endangered’ by COSEWIC, but still as of ‘least concern’ by the IUCN in spite of a steady decline in its general population. Threats in Ontario include habitat loss caused by invasive species (plants and insects), and parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird. Elsewhere, forest harvesting and wetland degradation or drainage for development and aquaculture negatively impact the habitat.
NOTES: The prothonotary warbler is a small songbird part of the passerines order. Predators include raccoons, flying squirrels, tree snakes and Brown-headed Cowbirds.
REFERENCES: (Missouri Department of Conservation) (New York Natural Heritage Program) (Montana Field Guide) (University of Michigan)
American Bird Conservancy (Prothonotary Warbler) (Species at Risk)

Prothonotary Warbler – Fort Clinch, FL – Apr. 8, 2018 – Roberta Palmer
Prothonotary warbler, FL, Roberta Palmer
Prothonotary Warbler – Fort Clinch, FL – Apr. 8 2018 – Roberta Palmer
Prothonotary warbler, Roberta Palmer