Definitions

warbler

warbler

[wawr-bler]
warbler, name applied in the New World to members of the wood warbler family (Parulidae) and in the Old World to a large family (Sylviidae) of small, drab, active songsters, including the hedge sparrow, the kinglet, and the tailorbird of SE Asia, Orthotomus sutorius, named for its habit of sewing leaves together to make its nest. The American warblers number 119 species of small, generally insectivorous birds of mediocre singing ability. Those found in North America are migratory, spending only the summer north of tropical regions. They are brightly plumed in the spring, usually yellow marked with black, gray, olive green, or white, but after the autumn molt they become uniformly drab. Most are arboreal insect catchers; some, e.g., the black-and-white, the yellow-throated, and the pine warblers, crawl on trees like nuthatches and are sometimes called creepers, e.g., the honey creeper of tropical America. Best known are the yellow warbler, or summer yellowbird (also called wild canary), which often nests in gardens; the myrtle warbler, with a yellow rump patch, found along the Massachusetts coast; the redstart and Blackburnian warblers, both with vivid black and orange plumage; the Maryland yellowthroat, with a distinctive black mask; the black-throated blue and green warblers; and the pileolated, or Wilson's, warbler. There are a few exceptions to the generally low level of vocal ability in the New World warblers. The yellow-breasted chat, the largest (71/2 in./18.8 cm) of the warblers, is an excellent singer and mimic. The North American ovenbird, which looks like a miniature thrush, has a melodious flight song and is not to be confused with the true ovenbirds, which belong to the family Furnariidae. The water thrush is also a superior singer. Most warblers build open, cup-shaped nests at moderate heights; they are favored victims of the parasitic cowbird. Warblers are unusual in that they hybridize. They are of inestimable value as destroyers of insect enemies of forest trees. Warblers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, families Parulidae and Sylviidae.

Any songbird of almost 350 Old World species (family Sylviidae) or about 120 New World species (family Parulidae, see wood warbler). Old World warblers, found in gardens, woodlands, and marshes, have a slender bill adapted for gleaning insects from foliage. They occur mainly from Europe and Asia to Africa and Australia, but a few (e.g., the gnatcatcher) live in the Americas. They are drab greenish, brownish, or black and 3.5–10 in. (9–26 cm) long. Seealso blackcap, blackpoll warbler, gnatcatcher, wood warbler.

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There are a number of Passeriformes (perching birds) called "warblers". They are not particularly closely related, but share some characteristics, such as being fairly small, active and insectivorous.

They are mostly brownish or dull greenish in color, of small size, easier seen than heard, and hard to identify to species. To Old World birders, "warblers" are the archetypal "LBJs" ("little brown jobs").

Sylvioid "warblers"

These are somewhat closer related to each other than to other "warblers". They belong to a superfamily also containing Old World babblers, bulbuls, etc.

Passeroid "warblers"

The two families of American "warblers" are part of another superfamily, which unites them with sparrows, buntings, finches, etc

Other

These are closely related to the titmice and chickadees

These are the most distinct group of "warblers". They are not closely related at all to the others, but rather to the honeyeaters and fairy-wrens.

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