Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The Nashville warbler, Vermivora ruficapilla, breeds in two disjunct populations - one in southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States, the other in southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States. It winters from the Texas coast to El Salvador. The Nashville warbler is an uncommon migrant through Utah. Its habitat is open, deciduous, or mixed forest with shrubby undergrowth. Its diet is almost exclusively insects, both adults and larvae.

The nest is on the ground, usually under shrubs or other cover. Typically four or five eggs are laid, rarely three or six. Incubation is by the female parent, rarely with the help of the male, for eleven to twelve days. Both parents tend the young, which fledge nine to eleven days after hatching. This warbler is a rare victim of brown-headed cowbird brood parasitism.

This species was discovered in 1811 near Nashville, Tennessee, and this locality gave it its common name. However, the common name is misleading, for the species neither breeds nor winters in, but only migrates through, the Nashville area.


  • Williams, J. M. 1996. Nashville warbler. Birds of North America 205: 1–19.

  • 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.