The olive-capped warbler is one of Abaco’s 5 permanent resident warblers, out of 37 warbler species recorded for Abaco. The other PRs are: Bahama Warbler, Bahama Yellowthroat, Pine Warbler and Yellow Warbler. (Photo: Tom Sheley)
OLIVE-CAPPED WARBLERS ON ABACO
Abaco has a recorded 37 warbler species. Of these, most are winter residents and some are rarer migratory transients. Only 5 are permanently resident on Abaco: the Bahama Warbler, Bahama Yellowthroat, Olive-capped Warbler, Pine Warbler and Yellow Warbler. You can read about all 5 HERE
I realise that I haven’t posted about OCWs in their own right; and that as a species they have been unfairly lumped in (by me) with more general warbler posts. Time to put that right by showing some exclusively OCW photos.
OCWs have an unusually restricted range, despite which they remain IUCN-listed ‘Least Concern’. These pretty birds are native only to the western and eastern ends of Cuba, Grand Bahama, and Abaco. Their natural habitat is pine forests and to a lesser extent in mixed forest and coppice areas.
If you are lucky enough to see an OCW on Abaco, it’s worth thinking about the rich and unspoilt habitat that ensures its survival there. These little birds, along with other important bird species, enjoy a safe haven in the vast acres of pine forest.
Photo credits: Bruce Hallett (1, 2, 3, 6); Tom Sheley (4, 5); Tom Reed (7)
ABACO’S WINTER WARBLERS: ARRIVING ANY MOMENT!
To celebrate the forthcoming influx of the ‘confusing fall warblers’ of the winter season, here is a reminder of my guide to the 37 warbler species found on Abaco, of which only 5 are permanent residents. The remainder are either winter residents of variable scarcity; or transients somewhat randomly passing through. As ace birdman Woody Bracey has rightly commented on the guide, “One note of caution to new birders. Most transients are seen in Abaco in the fall. They are not in bright breeding plumage at this time. That’s why they’re called ‘confusing fall warblers’. So don’t expect all the birds you see to look exactly like the photos. Females and juveniles are generally duller and may look very different from Spring males”.
Last season, Charmaine Albury saw 22 of the possible warbler species on Man-o-War Cay, a remarkably good proportion for a small island (I’d be interested if anyone can top that in one location). Add prolific shorebirds including piping plovers to the mix and it looks as though MoW is fast becoming a reliable hotspot for birding. Charmaine’s species were: Yellow-throated, Tennessee, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Pine, Bahama, Ovenbird, Worm Eating, Northern Waterthrush, Black and White, Cape May, Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue, Palm, Yellow-rumped, Prairie, Hooded, Prothonotary, Orange-crowned, Blackburnian, BlackPoll.
AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO ABACO’S 37 WARBLER SPECIES
Until a couple of years ago, I lazily believed all of the warblers were (a) near identical and (b) yellow, differing only in their extent of yellowness. Not so. I know better now. The seasonal migration prompted me to devise a general guide to all the various warblers, so that the great diversity can be appreciated. The photos that follow show an example of each warbler, where possible (1) male and (2) taken on Abaco. Where I had no Abaco images – especially with the transients – I have used other mainstream birding resources and Wiki. All due credits at the foot of the post.
Abaco has 37 warbler species recorded for the main island and cays. They fall into 3 categories: 5 permanent residents (PR) that breed on Abaco (B), of which two are endemics; 21 winter residents (WR) ranging from ‘everyday’ species to rarities such as the Kirtland’s Warbler; and 11 transients, most of which you will be lucky to encounter. The codes given for each bird show the residence status and also the likelihood of seeing each species in its season, rated from 1 (very likely) to 5 (extreme rarities, maybe only recorded once or twice).
BAHAMA YELLOWTHROAT Geothlypis rostrata PR B 1 ENDEMIC
YELLOW WARBLER Setophaga petechia PR B 1
OLIVE-CAPPED WARBLER Setophaga pityophila PR B 1
PINE WARBLER Setophaga pinus PR B 1
BAHAMA WARBLER Setophaga flavescens PR B 1 ENDEMIC
WINTER RESIDENTS (COMMON)
OVENBIRD Seiurus aurocapilla WR 1
WORM-EATING WARBLER Helmitheros vermivorum WR 2
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH Parkesia noveboracensis WR 1
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER Mniotilta varia WR 2
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT Geothlypis trichas WR 1
AMERICAN REDSTART Setophaga ruticilla WR 1
CAPE MAY WARBLER Setophaga tigrina WR 1
NORTHERN PARULA Setophaga americana WR 1
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER Setophaga caerulescens WR 2
PALM WARBLER Setophaga palmarum WR 1
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER Setophaga coronata WR 2
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER Setophaga dominica WR 1
PRAIRIE WARBLER Setophaga discolor WR 1
WINTER RESIDENTS (UNCOMMON TO RARE)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH Parkesia motacilla WR 3
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER Vermivora cyanoptera WR 3
SWAINSON’S WARBLER Limnothlypis swainsonii WR 4
NASHVILLE WARBLER Oreothlypis ruficapilla WR 4
HOODED WARBLER Setophaga citrina WR 3
KIRTLAND’S WARBLER Setophaga kirtlandii WR 4
MAGNOLIA WARBLER Setophaga magnolia WR 3
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER Setophaga virens WR 3
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER Protonotaria citrea TR 3
TENNESSEE WARBLER Oreothlypis peregrina TR 4
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER Oreothlypis celata TR 4
CONNECTICUT WARBLER Oporonis agilis TR 4
KENTUCKY WARBLER Geothlypis formosa TR 4
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER Setophaga castanea TR 4
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER Setophaga fusca TR 4
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER Setophaga pensylvanica TR 4
BLACKPOLL WARBLER Setophaga striata TR 3
WILSON’S WARBLER Cardellina pusilla TR 4
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT Icteria virens TR 4
PHOTO CREDITS: GUIDE (1 – 37) Bruce Hallett (Header, 3, 9, 12, 14, 17, 21, 22); Tom Reed (1, 4); Tom Sheley (2, 7, 10); Alex Hughes (5); Gerlinde Taurer (6, 11, 18); Becky Marvil (8, 20a); Woody Bracey (13, 24); Peter Mantle (15); RH (16); William H. Majoros (wiki)(19); talainsphotographyblog (20b, 26, 34); Charmaine Albury (23); Craig Nash (25); Ann Capling (27); Jerry Oldenettel wiki (28); Dominic Sherony wiki (29); 10000birds (30); Steve Maslowski wiki (31); MDF wiki (32, 33); Avibirds (35); Michael Woodruff wiki (36); Emily Willoughby wiki (37)
CHECKLIST & CODES based on the complete checklist and codes for Abaco devised by Tony White with Woody Bracey for “THE DELPHI CLUB GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF ABACO” by Keith Salvesen