Documentation of Prothonotary Warbler

Observer Information

Reporter:  Starr Nicely   
Other Observers:  Joanne Haller, Tony Leukering, Amanda Morrison; yes

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Prothonotary Warbler
First Date/Time:  10/24/2006
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  30 min
County:  Adams
Specific Location:  Barr Lake State Park banding station
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Female
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


The bird was captured at the banding station located in the riparian forest, consisting of mainly cottonwood and willow species, surrounding Barr Lake.

Description of the Bird

The bird’s head, breast, and belly were yellowish with an olive wash and the brightest yellow on the face, which lacked distinct markings. The back was olive, and the undertail coverts were white. The wings were bluish and lacked wing bars. The wing chord measured 67 mm and the tail 45 mm long. Only the outer three rectrices had distinct, white patches; therefore, the bird was a female. The legs were blue, and the bill was pale. This bird was aged as Hatching Year based on the incomplete pneumaticization of its skull and plumage characteristics, such as brownish tertials, lack of bluish or whitish edging of the alula and outer primary coverts, and the substantial amount of olive wash on the crown and nape.
Behaviors: Normal behaviors of the Prothonotary Warbler were not observed during its capture and banding.
Call: not applicable
Plumage: yellow head and underparts, olive back,

Similar Species Discussion

The lack of wing bars on this bird’s bluish wings and its plain yellow face distinguished it from the Blue-winged Warbler, which has wing bars and a distinct, blackish eye line. Other yellow-faced warblers, such as the Wilson’s Warbler and Hooded Warbler, both have olive-colored wings and yellow undertail coverts. Its larger overall size, as well as large, pale-colored bill, also separated the PROW from those warblers.

Resources Used

Sibley, D.A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.

Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part 1 Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California.

Previous Experience

I have captured and studied a PROW at a banding station in Massachusetts.


Notes made DURING observation

Additional Information

Comments: This report has already been submitted to the CBRC, but I am resubmitting this report per Larry Semo's request.
Time: 1200
Other Dates:
Nearest Town: Brighton
Independent Observers: yes

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

1/5/2009 2:43:00 PM