Golden-winged Warbler bird of the year

The Golden-winged Warbler: Let’s Get to Know the 2024 Bird of the Year

If you are in the forest and see a flash of vibrant yellow and black darting through the undergrowth, you may have just stumbled upon the 2024 bird of the year, the Golden-winged Warbler.

Did you know that The Golden-winged Warbler is known for its unique propensity to hybridize with Blue-winged Warblers, creating hybrid offspring with varying plumage patterns? In some areas, like the Appalachian Mountains, hybridization is so common that it has developed distinct hybrid zones.

In many photos featuring the Golden-winged Warbler sightings, you’ll see quite a few with varying amounts of blue on their wings and yellow on the chest, a phenotype of the Blue-winged warbler.

Facts About the 2024 bird of the year, the Golden-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler bird of the year


  • The Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is a small, striking songbird with a distinctive appearance:
  •  Males have bright yellow patches on their wings, giving them their name, while females have duller, grayish-yellow wings.
  • Both sexes sport a black throat and mask, making them easy to identify.
  • The Golden-winged Warblers do not have a fall-specific plumage.


  • It’s about 4.5 to 5.1 inches (11.4 to 13 cm) in length.
  • Wingspan 7.5 inches


These warblers are known for their specific habitat preferences:

  • They prefer early successional habitats like young forests, shrubby areas, overgrown cattle pastures, and wetlands.

golden winged warbler in the thicket

Photo credit: Peter Hamner

  • You’ll find them in the southern Appalachian mountains
  •  Their breeding range spans North America, including the Great Lakes and northeastern United States.

Migratory Birds: 

  • Golden-winged Warblers are neotropical migrants, which means they undertake an impressive long-distance migration
  •  They winter in Central America and northern South America.
  •  Their migration can cover up to 2,000 miles!
  • Warblers will fly at night during migration.

Conservation Status: 

  • Sadly, the Golden-winged Warbler has recently faced habitat loss and population decline, leading to a “Near Threatened” status on the IUCN Red List.

Golden-winged Warbler Hybridization: 

  • One fascinating aspect of Golden-winged Warblers is their tendency to hybridize with Blue-winged Warblers, creating “Brewster’s” and “Lawrence’s” warblers. These hybrids often display unique characteristics.

Lawrence's warblers

Golden-winged Warbler Diet: 

  • Like many warblers, they primarily feed on worms, insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates, like moths. They are excellent at catching insects, like adult moths, especially Tortricid moths, in flight.

  • The Golden-winged warblers forage on the ground.

warbler and a catbird

Photo courtesy of SaintsGirl31

  • They love to forage through probing. 

  • Their name, “vermivora” means “worm-eating”. 

Unique Song: 

  • Their melodious song is distinctive and easily recognizable once you get the hang of it. It’s often described as a high-pitched “bee-buzzzz,” followed by a musical trill.

Audio citation Matt Wistrand, XC656695. Accessible at

  • Its notes are higher and finer than the Blue-winged warblers.
  • Even though they hang out in the weeds and brush, they like to perch on taller trees to sing.

Golden-winged Nesting: 

golden-winged warbler nest

  • Golden-winged Warblers build cup-shaped nests low in shrubs or on the ground. They typically lay 3-6 eggs, incubating for 10-12 days.

Conservation Efforts: 

  • Conservation organizations and bird enthusiasts are actively involved in protecting and restoring Golden-winged Warblers’ habitat. This includes creating managed early successional areas to mimic their preferred habitats.

  • They require an expansive landscape that consists of forests and shrubs. Learn more here

Field Guides/Resources: 

I hope you find these facts about the Golden-winged Warbler fascinating and inspiring! It’s a beautiful bird that deserves our attention and conservation efforts. Happy birdwatching!

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