The Black and White Warbler
The Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) is a species of New World warbler, the only member of its genus, Mniotilta. It breeds in northern and eastern North America from the Northwest Territory and Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada to Florida. This species is migratory, wintering in Florida, Central America and the West Indies down to Peru. This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
The summer male Black-and-white Warbler is boldly streaked in black and white, and the bird has been described as a flying humbug. There are two white wing bars. Female and juvenile plumages are similar, but duller and less streaked.
Its song is a high see wee-see wee-see wee-see wee-see wee-see or weesa weesa weetee weetee weetee weet weet weet. It has two calls, a hard tick, and a soft, thin fsss.
The breeding habitat is broadleaved or mixed woodland, preferably in wetter areas. Black-and-white Warblers nest on the ground, laying 4–5 eggs in a cup nest.
This bird feeds on insects and spiders, and unlike other warblers, forages like a nuthatch, moving up and down tree trunks and along branches.
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These birds have white bellies, white wing bars, dark legs and thin, relatively long pointed bills; they have yellowish lines over their eyes. Adult males have olive upperparts and bright yellow throats and breasts; females and immatures display upperparts which are olive-brown. Their throats and breasts are paler.
The song of this bird is a musical trill. Their calls are slurred chips.
Their breeding habitats are open pine woods in eastern North America. These birds are permanent residents in southern Florida. Some of them, however, migrate to northeastern Mexico and islands in the Caribbean. The first record for South America was a vagrant wintering female seen at Vista Nieve, Colombia, on 20 November 2002; this bird was foraging as part of a mixed-species feeding flock that also included wintering Blackburnian and Tennessee Warblers.
They forage slowly on tree trunks and branches by poking their bill into pine cones. These birds also find food by searching for it on the ground. These birds mainly eat insects, seeds and berries.
Their nests are deep, open cups, which are placed near the end of a tree branch. Pine Warblers prefer to nest in pine trees, hence their names.