The male magnolia warbler has one of almost every field mark common to our songbirds: eye line, mask, necklace, streaky sides, wing panels, rump patch, tail spots, and black band across tail tip, making it one of our easiest warblers to identify.
Magnolia warblers sing a sweet but weak-sounding pretty-pretty Maggie! Call note is a very sweet chet!
With the magnolia warbler, it’s all about the white tail spots—and they seem to love to show them off. Females and fall males lack the breeding male’s bold facial markings, but all maggies have the lemon breast, bold black streaks on flanks, and clean white “underpants” on undertail coverts.
Maggies breed in young coniferous forests. They are commonly seen as migrants in almost any habitat in the East (but only rarely seen in magnolias). They often forage in low, shrubby vegetation during migration and are active and easy to spot.
The magnolia warbler was named by early American ornithologist Alexander Wilson, who first saw this species flitting through a magnolia tree during spring migration in 1810.