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Bird in the Spotlight: Red Warbler

By Alexander Trifunovic

31 January, 2024

Red Warbler in Sinaloa, Mexico. Photo by Francesco Veronesi.


This ruby-red gem of a bird is among most distinctive and unique of the Neotropical warblers. Red Warblers (Cardellina rubra) are easily identified by their vibrant red plumage, worn by both males and females, and contrasting gray or silver cheek patch. Like other members of the Parulidae (New World warbler) family, they busily forage for insects and are constantly moving and preening. Endemic to the mountains of southern and western Mexico, they nest at the edges of high-elevation pine, oak, and fir forests, and migrate to lower elevation oak woodlands post-breeding. They typically form monogamous pairs to defend their territory from potential predators and intruders. Red Warblers are currently common within their limited range, but are vulnerable to climate change as they occur at high elevations.

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