The Blackpoll Warbler undertakes one of the longest migration among small North American songbirds. This species breeds at northern latitude across the boreal forest of Canada and the United States (i.e. Alaska) and winters in northern South America (e.g. Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela). It also breeds at high elevation in subalpine conifer forest in eastern Canada and northeastern USA.
The southbound migration occurs over the Atlantic Ocean, which means individuals need to store sufficient fat resources and double their body weight to travel multiple consecutive days non-stop and complete an 8,000 km journey to South America.
Blackpoll Warblers generally nest in black spruce and tamarack forests, but can also be found in alder or willow thickets, particularly in the western parts of its range, and fir forests in subalpine habitats. In South America, they are found in lowlands and second-growth forests (usually below 3,000 m) as well as coffee plantations.
The Blackpoll Warbler is a common bird of concern because it is experiencing sharp declines. It has declined by 92% since the 1970s and its half-life is estimated at only 16 years, which is relatively short. Although reasons for this decline are unknown, this species faces several threats throughout its migration route including habitat degradation of its wintering grounds, collision with structures and extreme weather events.
Primary Habitats:Breeding: Boreal forests
Wintering: Tropical evergreen forests
Breeding: Changing in forests conditions
Wintering: Tropical deforestation, climate change
Population Loss Since 1970: 92%
Urgency/Half Life: 16 years
Global Conservation Status: IUCN 2019-1 – Near Threatened
U.S. Conservation Status: N/A
Canadian Conservation Status: N/A
Birds of Conservation Concern: USFWS – Bird of Conservation Concern
|Region||Area Importance||Long-term Population Change||Half Life|
|Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture||24%||-95%||13 years|
Protect breeding habitat such as boreal forests and coniferous forests
Support research and monitoring projects, such as the State of Mountain Birds
Create a bird friendly backyard to provide foraging habitat for migrating Blackpoll Warblers and other birds
Species Conservation Plans:
Key Species References:
Peer Reviewed Papers:
Sutherland, D.A. 2007. Blackpoll Warbler. Pp. 498-499 in M.D. Cadman, D.A. Sutherland, G.G. Beck, D. Lepage, and A.R. Couturier (eds.). Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, Toronto, xxii + 706 pp.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Website. Blackpoll Warbler.
Birds of North America (BNA) Species Account