The Cerulean Warbler breeds in mature and old growth deciduous forests of the eastern United States, from the extreme south of Quebec and Ontario down to Tennessee. Its distribution is not uniform throughout its range and it can be widespread in some areas and localized in others. It prefers white oaks and bitternut hickories for nesting, foraging and as singing perches. Forests where red maples and red oaks are dominant are avoided. Some important habitat features include like large tracts of deciduous forest with large trees and an uneven canopy structure.
It winters in low to medium elevation broadleaf and evergreen forests of northern South America in Venezuela, Colombia and Peru.
The Cerulean Warbler is sensitive to habitat changes and modifications. Habitat degradation in its breeding, migrating and wintering ranges over the last decades are suspected of having caused a decline of 72% since the 1970s. Its half-life is estimated at 26 years for a population of approximately 570,000 individuals.
Primary Habitats:Breeding: Temperate eastern forests
Wintering: Tropical highland forests
Breeding: Tropical Deforestation, Changing Forest Conditions, Energy/Resource Extraction, Urbanization
Wintering: Tropical Deforestation, Changing Forest Conditions, Energy/Resource Extraction, Urbanization
Population Loss Since 1970: 65%
Global Conservation Status: IUCN 2019-1 – Vulnerable
U.S. Conservation Status:
Canadian Conservation Status: Endangered (SARA)
Birds of Conservation Concern: USFWS – Bird of Conservation Concern
|Region||Area Importance||Long-term Population Change||Half-Life|
|Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture||81%||-74%||19 years|
|Central Hardwoods Joint Venture||8%||-66%||39 years|
|Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Region Joint Venture||8%||-66%||39 years|
The Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement Project
Species Conservation Plans:
Cerulean Warbler Minnesota Conservation Plan
Cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea): management plan 2011 (Canada)
Key Species References:
Peer Reviewed Papers:
Francis, C.M. 2007. Cerulean Warbler. Pp. 500-501 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.
Jones, J. and R.J. Robertson. 2001. Territory and nest-site selection of Cerulean Warblers in eastern Ontario. Auk 118:727–735.
Jones, J., J.J. Barg, T.S. Sillett, M.L. Veit, and R.J. Robertson. 2004a. Minimum estimates of survival and population growth for Cerulean Warblers (Dendroica cerulea) breeding in Ontario, Canada. Auk 121:15–22.
Welton, M.J., D.L. Anderson, T. Beachy, G. Colorado, E.S. Perez. 2008. Migration habitat and stopover ecology of Cerulean Warblers and other Nearctic-Neotropical migrant songbirds in Northern Central America: Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico 2007. Report submitted to The Nature Conservancy, Migratory Bird Program, Albuquerque, NM.
Birds of North America (BNA) Species Account