New York Natural Heritage Program
Prothonotary Warbler
Protonotaria citrea (Boddaert, 1783)

Identifying Characteristics [-]
When compared to other members of the Parulidae family, the Prothonotary Warbler is a reletively large (14 centimeters or 5.5 inches), plump, short-tailed, long-billed warbler. They have large, dark, prominent eyes. Males have a glolden yellow head and underparts that fade to white undertail coverts. Wings are blue-gray and lack wing bars. The tail is blue-gray with large white patches. Females are similar, but are duller and have a less golden head. Prothonotary Warblers nest in cavities. Nests are cup-shaped and hollow consisting of mosses, rootlets, twigs, and leaves. Nests are smoothly lined with fine grasses, leaf stems, and feathers. The inside diameter is 5.1 centimeters (2.0 inches) and the depth is 3.8 centimeters (1.5 inches). The creamy-colored, oval to short oval eggs are boldly and liberally spotted and blotched with brown. The shell is smooth and somewhat glossy (NatureServe 2006). The average egg size is 18.47 x 14.55 millimeters (0.73 x 0.57 inches). The song is described as a series of loud, ringing "zweet" notes on one pitch.
Prothonotary Warbler Images
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The Best Time to See
Prothonotary Warblers are found in New York from early April to late September. The best time to observe these birds is mid to late June when the males are in full breeding plumage and are most likely to be holding territories and raising young.
Present Breeding
The time of year you would expect to find Prothonotary Warbler present (blue shading) and breeding (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Blue-Winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)
    Blue-winged Warblers have a black eye line while Prothonotary Warblers lack a black eye line.
  • Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)
    Yellow Warblers lack blue-gray wings and white undertail.