Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Larry Master
Photo Copyright Larry Master

The Tennessee warbler, Vermivora peregrina, breeds in Canada and a few places in northeastern America, and winters from southern Mexico to Venezuela. It is a rare migrant through Utah. Its habitat is deciduous, mixed, and coniferous forest with openings and shrubby growth. This species eats mainly insects, but it also consumes some fruit and berries, as well as nectar on its winter range.

This warbler nests on the ground, often on a hummock of moss or at the base of a small tree or shrub. Typically there are five or six eggs (rarely as few as three or as many as eight), which are incubated by the female parent. There is uncertainty concerning the incubation period, which has been estimated as eleven to twelve days and also reported as seven to eight days. The nestlings are tended by both parents. The time until fledging is also not known with certainty, but it appears that the young leave the nest eleven to twelve days after hatching. This species is a very rare host of the brown-headed cowbird.

This species was originally described and named based on a specimen collected in1832 in Tennessee, which resulted in the common name that it was given. However, the specimen was a migrating individual, and the common name assigned to it is somewhat misleading because the species neither breeds nor winters in Tennessee.


  • Rimmer, C. C., and K. P. McFarland. 1998. Tennessee warbler. Birds of North America 350: 1–23.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds. 2nd ed. Academic, San Diego. 347 pp.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.