The boldly patterned Golden-winged Warbler has experienced severe population declines across its range in recent decades, including a 98% decline in Appalachian forests, a former stronghold of the species. An iconic bird of early successional forest habitat, the Golden-winged Warbler faces multiple challenges throughout its annual cycle. On the breeding grounds, a reduction in scrubby early successional habitat within a larger matrix of older forest has prompted extensive conservation action on both public and private lands in the U.S. and Canada. During the nonbreeding season, the Golden-winged Warbler frequents coffee plantations, linking its recovery to sustainable agroforestry practices.
The Golden-winged Warbler has one of the most comprehensive full life cycle Conservation Plans of any Neotropical migrant. In addition to the extensive work on the breeding grounds, in 2005 a group of biologists and conservationists formed Alianza Alas Doradas, a group focused on studying and conserving the nonbreeding grounds for the Golden-winged Warbler and other associated species. Today partners have identified 73 “”focus areas”” to channel conservation investment toward priority habitats in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. Local knowledge from each country helped identify key threats for each focal area. Conservation goals for the nonbreeding season include reducing the net loss of nonbreeding habitat by 50% in focal areas and restoring 30% of habitat lost since 2000 (45,000 ha) over a 10-year period.
Primary Habitats:Breeding: Eastern Forest - early successional habitat
Wintering: Tropical Highland Forest - open woodland and shade coffee plantations of Central and South America
Breeding: Habitat Loss, Hybridization with Blue-winged Warblers
Wintering: Habitat Loss;
Population Loss Since 1970: 60%
Urgency/Half Life: 34* years (confidence interval is greater than 40 years)
Global Conservation Status: IUCN 2016-3 Red List – Near Threatened
U.S. Conservation Status: Petitioned for listing (decision pending)
Canadian Conservation Status: COSEWIC: Threatened
Birds of Conservation Concern: USFWS – Bird of Conservation Concern
|Region||Area Importance||Long-term Population Change||Half Life|
|Upper Mississippi River / Great Lakes Joint Venture||75%||-39%||20* years|
|Canadian Southern Shield & Maritimes Region||14%||-17%||20* years|
|Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture||5%||-98%||9 years|
|Canadian Lower Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Plain Region||2%||>50%||>50 years|
* indicates a confidence interval of >40 years around the half-life estimate.
- Golden-winged Warbler Working Group
- Golden-winged Warbler Wintering Group / Alianza Alas Doradas Griffin Group page (work space for biologists/conservationists)
- Working Lands for Wildlife Program offers technical and financial assistance from NRCS for private landowners working to concern early successional habitat
- Golden-winged Warbler: Resources for Landowners and Land Manager
Species Conservation Plans:
- 2012 Golden-winged Warbler Status Review and Conservation Plan (2019: undergoing revision)
- 2016 Golden-winged Warbler Non-breeding Season Conservation Plan
Key Species References:
Peer Reviewed Papers:
- Streby et al. 2016. Golden-winged Warbler Ecology, Conservation, and Habitat Management (book)
- Toews et al. 2016. Plumage genes and little else distinguish the genomes of hybridizing warblers.
- Aldinger et al. 2015. Variables associated with nest survival of Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) among vegetation communities commonly used for nesting.
- Bakermans, et al. 2015. Stand and within-stand factors influencing Golden-winged Warbler use of regenerating stands int he central Appalachian Mountains.
- Peterson et al. 2014. Geolocators on Golden-winged Warblers do not affect migratory ecology.
- Streby et al. 2014. Post-independence fledgling ecology in a migratory songbird: implications for breeding-grounds conservation
- Bakermans et al. 2011. Golden-winged Warbler Habitat – Best Management Practices for Forestlands in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
- Golden-winged Warbler Working Group 2013. Best Management Practices for Golden-winged Warbler Habitat in Deciduous Forests of the Great Lakes
- Golden-winged Warbler Working Group 2013. Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Supplements: Great Lakes
- Golden-winged Warbler Working Group 2013. Best Management Practices for Golden-winged Warbler Habitat in Deciduous Forests of the Appalachians
- Golden-winged Warbler Working Group 2013. Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Supplements: Appalachians
Birds of North America (BNA) Species Account