Main Content

The Canada Warbler is a small, brightly coloured songbird with bluish grey upper-parts and yellow under-parts. A series of patterned black spots form a "necklace" on its bright yellow breast, but tends to be greyer and less defined in females. Other features such as the white eye ring, thin pointed bill and white feathers at the base of the tail help to distinguish this bird from similar species.

Weight: 7.9 to 16.3 g (0.3 to 0.6 oz). Length: 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in).

Report Canada Warbler sightings to 

This warbler received its name from its discovery in Canada, where the majority of its breeding range occurs. Canada Warblers have been found nesting in the southern NWT, from north of Fort Liard to Kakisa.

Range map information

The Canada Warbler population in Canada declined by about 63% since the 1970s. The reasons are not fully understood but loss of forest on the wintering grounds in South America and events occurring during migration are contributing to population declines. A 46% increase was recently estimated in Canada over a ten year period (2009-2019).  

The Canada Warbler is one of the last warblers to arrive in the NWT in the spring and one of the first to leave in the fall. The Canada Warbler flies approximately 8,000 km to its wintering grounds each fall, and again as it returns to its breeding grounds in the spring. Typical habitat is moist deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous boreal forest with a well developed shrub layer, often on steep slopes. Canada Warblers eat flying insects and spiders captured in flight or on the ground.  

Potential threats in the Northwest Territories include loss and degradation of breeding habitat from human-caused and natural disturbances, as well as human activities resulting in increased numbers of predators and declining food sources. 

COSEWIC assessed Canada Warbler as Threatened in 2008, and re-assessed it as a species of Special Concern in 2020. Canada Warbler was listed as Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2010. The SARA provides protection for individual Canada Warblers and their residences. Canada Warblers and their nests are also protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.

A national recovery strategy for Canada Warbler is available on the federal Species at Risk Public Registry.