Wilsonia citrina L 5 1/4 in (13cm)
Photographed by Larry Ditto
The adult male hooded warbler has a distinctive black hood extending from the top of the head to the throat. The face is yellow, as are the underparts, and the back is olive-green. The females usually show only a darker crown with an indistinct necklace around the lower part of the neck, but some may have a black crown and hood markings almost as dark as the male's. Among the most noticeable field marks are the white outer tail feathershooded warblers are well known for their habit of flicking or fanning the tail.
Hooded warblers begin to leave their wintering grounds in Central America in early March and can be spotted in southern Louisiana and Florida shortly after that. By mid-April, hooded warblers are back in Virginia, and the northward movement continues through the first weeks of May. Fall migration begins in September, and most of the birds will have departed by the end of the month.
During the breeding season the hooded warbler is more or less confined to the eastern United States. The bird's range extends north just barely into southern Ontario and southern New England. In the South they range into northern Florida and west along the Gulf Coast to the eastern portions of Texas.
Look for hooded warblers in relatively large, unbroken tracts of deciduous woodland. They prefer a fairly dense understory of shrubs or heavy vegetation. Toward the southern part of their range, hooded warblers tend to be more common in moist or swampy habitats.
The song of the hooded warbler consists of loud, whistled, musical variations of ta-wit ta-wit ta-wit tee-yo. The call is a flat, metallic chink.