A tiny warbler of the treetops, the northern parula’s yellow throat and white belly are often all you see as the bird forages high above. But look closely and you may see a yellow lower bill and the reddish black neck band.
Song is a musical buzz that rises up the scale, ending with a sharp down-slurred note: zeeeeeee-zup! One way to remember the pattern of the call is that it climbs up the ladder and drops (or hooks) over the top.
No other widespread warbler has the color combination of the northern parula: blue-gray head and back, white eye crescents (like white mascara), and the reddish neck band.
Breeds in large trees often near streams or other bodies of water. A treetop forager, the northern parula is best located by voice, but because it is a small bird, it can be difficult to see.
Northern parulas love the stringy strands of Spanish moss and other lichens for nest building. The pouchlike nest inside a clump of hanging moss is very hard to spot.