New York Natural Heritage Program
Golden-winged Warbler
Vermivora chrysoptera (Linnaeus, 1766)
Birds

Habitat [-]
The Golden-winged Warbler uses a variety of shrubby habitats with herbaceous cover including successional fields, regenerating clearcuts, utility line rights-of-way, beaver meadows, the edges of tamarack swamps, aspen clearcuts, young conifer plantations, pine barrens, and upland swamps (Confer et al. 2011). Quality habitat generally includes clumped herbaceous cover and shrubs interspersed with widely spaced trees and an irregular transitional forest edge (Confer et al. 2011). Very dense, contiguous shrub cover may not be ideal habitat (Golden-winged Warbler Working Group 2013). They tend to prefer sites with moderate amounts of canopy cover (6-45%), shrub cover (45-69%), and herb cover (48-73%) (Rush and Post 2008; Confer et al. 2011). Nests are typically placed at or near the ground in clumps of sedges, grasses, or forbs such as goldenrod (Solidago spp.) (Confer et al. 2011). Higher fecundity and lower hybridization rates with Blue-winged Warblers have been documented in a population located in upland swamps in the Ramapo Mountains in New York and adjacent New Jersey; this is also the only known area in the state where the two species co-occur with stability (Gill 1980; Confer and Knapp 1981; Confer et al. 2010). These swamps are characterized by a red maple (Acer rubrum) canopy, tussock sedge (Carex stricta) ground cover, and a dry forest border (Confer et al. 2010). Other typical wetland habitats in New York are often dominated by willows (Salix spp.) or alder (Alnus spp.) (Confer et al. 2011). Most breeding locations in upstate New York are in abandoned farmland in early stages of succession (Levine 1998).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Alvar shrubland*
    A shrub-dominated community that has over 25% cover of tall, short, and dwarf shrubs. There are often deep crevices or grikes in the limestone pavement; trees and shrubs are often rooted in the grikes.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Black spruce-tamarack bog*
    A conifer forest that occurs on acidic peatlands in cool, poorly drained depressions. The characteristic trees are black spruce and tamarack; in any one stand, either tree may be dominant, or they may be codominant. Canopy cover is quite variable, ranging from open canopy woodlands with as little as 20% cover of evenly spaced canopy trees to closed canopy forests with 80 to 90% cover.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Pine plantation*
    A stand of pines planted for the cultivation and harvest of timber products, or to provide wildlife habitat, soil erosion control, windbreaks, or landscaping. Pines that are typically planted in New York include white pine, red pine, Scotch pine, pitch pine, and jack pine.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Red maple-hardwood swamp
    A hardwood swamp that occurs in poorly drained depressions, usually on inorganic soils. Red maple is usually the most abundant canopy tree, but it can also be codominant with white, green, or black ash; white or slippery elm; yellow birch; and swamp white oak.
  • Shrub swamp
    An inland wetland dominated by tall shrubs that occurs along the shore of a lake or river, in a wet depression or valley not associated with lakes, or as a transition zone between a marsh, fen, or bog and a swamp or upland community. Shrub swamps are very common and quite variable.
  • Successional northern hardwoods*
    A hardwood or mixed forest that occurs on sites that have been cleared or otherwise disturbed. Canopy trees are usually relatively young in age (25-50 years old) and signs of earlier forest disturbance are often evident. Characteristic trees and shrubs include any of the following: quaking aspen, big-tooth aspen, balsam poplar, paper birch, gray birch, pin cherry, black cherry, red maple, and white pine.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Successional old field
    A meadow dominated by forbs and grasses that occurs on sites that have been cleared and plowed (for farming or development), and then abandoned or only occasionally mowed.
  • Successional shrubland
    A shrubland that occurs on sites that have been cleared (for farming, logging, development, etc.) or otherwise disturbed. This community has at least 50% cover of shrubs.
  • Successional southern hardwoods*
    A hardwood or mixed forest that occurs on sites that have been cleared or otherwise disturbed. Canopy trees are usually relatively young in age (25-50 years old) and signs of earlier forest disturbance are often evident. Characteristic trees and shrubs include any of the following: American elm, slippery elm, white ash, red maple, box elder, silver maple, sassafras, gray birch, hawthorn, eastern red cedar, and choke-cherry.

    * probable association but not confirmed

Associated Species [-]
  • Blue-Winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)