Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nashville Warbler

Well! I hate to sound like a broken record, but today again we did not find any Golden-cheeked Warblers in Huitepec, but again saw a warbler that I have never seen before in pine-oak forest. (It doesn’t winter as far south as Honduras, that’s why.) This time the warbler was a Nashville, which, according to Dunn & Garrett (1997), on the wintering grounds is found in humid forests, shrubby areas, forest edges, coffee plantations, parks, and gardens (1). Neither Dunn & Garrett nor Cornell’s BNA account (2) mention a specific elevational range, but ‘coffee plantations’ (Dunn & Garrett) and ‘cloud forest’ (BNA account) suggest that this bird can be found at higher elevations.

The BNA account gives more detail:

In central and s. Mexico from Coahuila and Nayarit south through Oaxaca and Chiapas, seen primarily in low deciduous open forests and suburban gardens (A. M. Sada pers. comm.). In Veracruz, 1 bird netted at 700 m and a second observed in undisturbed rain and cloud forests of the Santa Marta crater (Rappole et al. 1992).

In w. Mexico, from s. Sinaloa to s. Oaxaca, found over wide range of habitats. Of 179 birds observed, 45% in cloud forest, 30% in tropical deciduous forest, 17% in disturbed deciduous forest (second growth), 5% in thorn forest, and 3% in pine-oak-fir forest (Hutto 1992). Not found in oak woodland (Hutto 1980).

That last line to me is intriguing, since more than 90% of all trees in the area around San Cristóbal, including Huitepec, are oaks. Huitepec is older, humid forest, with big, epiphyte-laden trees. But those trees are all oaks.

We found the bird at the entrance to the reserve, in what I would describe as disturbed, second growth habitat. Surrounded by oaks.

(1) Dunn & Garrett (1997) A field guide to the warblers of North America; Peterson Field Guide Series.

(2) Williams, Janet Mci. 1996. Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

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