• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Prothonotary Warbler - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 19:54, 11 June 2022 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: Additional GSearch for common name. GSearch Checked template)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Photo © by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach, SC, USA, May 2017

Alternative name: Golden Swamp Warbler

Protonotaria citrea


Photo © by STEFFRO1
Collins Creek Landing, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, 24 April 2020

14 cm (5½ in)

  • Bright orange-yellow head
  • Gold overall plumage
  • Bluish-grey wings

Female: slightly duller

  • Olive upperparts
  • Bluish-grey tail
  • Yellow underparts
  • Long pointed bill
  • Black legs

Females and immature birds are duller and have a yellow head.


Main breeding range from southwest Iowa east to Ohio south to eastern Texas east to Alabama and from southern New Jersey south to northern Florida. Mostly absent from the Appalachians. Small local populations in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. It winters in the West Indies, Central America and northern South America. Rare vagrant to California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.


Photo © by STEFFRO1
Collins Creek Landing, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, May 2017

This is a monotypic species[1].


Seasonally flooded hardwood forests and swamps, along creeks and rivers.



Their main diet consists of insects such as butterflies, moths, flies, spiders and beetles; with the addition of molluscs such as snails. Outwith the breeding season will also include seeds, fruit and nectar. They forage low to the ground in shrubs and on fallen logs.


They construct their nest near water in tree cavities about 2 m above ground, sometimes using old holes from the Downy Woodpecker.. It is lined with moss. The clutch contains 3-7 glossy white eggs with brownish spots. Incubation takes about 12-14 days, fledging usually after 10 days.

They are sometimes parasitised by the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), or outcompeted for nest sites by the House Wren (Troglodytes aedon).


Call: tsweet, twseet, twseet, twseet.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Petit, L. J. (2020). Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.prowar.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

Search the Gallery using the scientific name:

Search the Gallery using the common name:

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.