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Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has declined rapidly in southern parts of its breeding range in recent years. Northern populations faired better but overall moderately rapid declines have been recorded. Therefore, it qualifies as Near Threatened, but if declines continue to worsen in the north of its breeding range it may warrant uplisting to Vulnerable in the future.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Distribution and population
Vermivora chrysoptera breeds from southern Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, Canada, and northern New York, southern Vermont and eastern Massachusetts, USA, south through the eastern USA to Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina (AOU 1983, Buehler et al. 2007). Birds winter from the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico and Belize) and Guatemala, south through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama to northern and eastern Colombia and northern Venezuela (AOU 1983); wintering birds are occasionally recorded from the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico (Bond 1979). Although it had increased and expanded its distribution for more than a century, evidence from the North American Breeding Birds Survey suggests that it is declining in its southern range, from Georgia to New England (where decline has been particularly severe) (D. A. Buehler, R. A. Canterbury and J. L. Confer in litt. 2003, Buehler et al. 2007). It increased over the last c.30 years in the northern part of its breeding range (Curson et al 1994, D. A. Buehler, R. A. Canterbury and J. L. Confer in litt. 2003), although recently declines have been recorded (Buehler et al. 2003). Estimates suggest a current population of c.210,000 birds (Rosenberg and Blancher 2003, Rich et al. 2004).

Population justification
Rich et al. PIF North American Landbirds Conservation Plan (2004).

Trend justification
This species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (-63.8% decline over 40 years, equating to a -22.4% decline per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). Declines have been particularly marked over the past 15 years (Buehler et al. 2007).

Breeds in open deciduous woodland, secondary growth, brushy pastures and bogs (AOU 1983), apparently favouring a particular stage in woodland succession (Curson et al 1994). When the habitat passes this stage, birds move on (Curson et al 1994). All kinds of woodland and scrub are used during migration, and birds generally winter in secondary growth forest or forest edge with a good understorey (Curson et al 1994). Most records come from below 2,000 m, and right down to sea-level (Curson et al 1994). The well-hidden nest is usually on or close to the ground, and breeding takes place in May and June (Curson et al 1994).

Local declines correlate with advancing succession and reforestation, and the invasive range expansion of Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus (Confer 1992). Other possible causes of population declines are loss of wintering habitat (especially forest edge and open woodland) through agricultural expansion and clearance for plantations, nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater and hybridisation with V. pinus (Confer 1992).

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring population trends. Identify the principal threats and develop management actions to remedy them. Management to maintain or create suitable habitat; a forty-year cycle of burning 10-20 ha units of habitat has been proposed. Investigate the control and removal of nest parasite (Brown-headed Cowbird) populations.

AOU. 1983. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D C.

Bond, J. 1979. Birds of the West Indies. Collins, London.

Buehler, D. A.; Roth, A. M.; Vallender, R.; Will, T. C.; Confer, J. L.; Canterbury, R. A.; Swarthout, S. B.; Rosenberg, K. V.; Bulluck, L. P. 2007. Status and conservation priorities of Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) in North America. The Auk 124(4): 1439-1445.

Buehler, D.A., Roth, A.M., Vallender, R., Will, T.C., Confer, J.L., Canterbury, R.A., Barker Swarthout, S., Rosenberg, K.V. and Bulluck, L.P. 2007. Status and conservation priorities of golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) in North America. Auk 124(4): 1439-1445.

Butler, C. J. 2003. The disproportionate effect of global warming on the arrival dates of short-distance migratory birds in North America. Ibis 145: 484-495.

Confer, J. L. 1992. Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera. In: Poole, A.; Gill, F. (ed.), The birds of North America, No. 20, pp. 1-16. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadephia and the American Ornithologists' Union, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Curson, J.; Quinn, D.; Beadle, D. 1994. New World warblers. A&C Black/Christopher Helm, London.

Rich, T.D.; Beardmore, C.J.; Berlanga, H.; Blancher, P.J.; Bradstreet, M.S.W.; Butcher, G.S.; Demarest, D.W.; Dunn, E.H.; Hunter, W.C.; Inigo-Elias, E.E.; Martell, A.M.; Panjabi, A.O.; Pashley, D.N.; Rosenberg, K.V.; Rustay, C.M.; Wendt, J.S.; Will, T.C. 2004. Partners in flight: North American landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J

Buehler, D., Canterbury, R., Confer, J., Rosenberg, K., Wells, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Vermivora chrysoptera. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Parulidae (New World warblers)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 943,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species