Swainson’s Warbler

: A Little-Known Bird of the Eastern United States

Basic Description

Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) is a small, secretive bird that inhabits the dense understory of deciduous forests in the southeastern United States. It measures around 5.5 inches in length and has a wingspan of about 8 inches. The male and female look similar, with brownish-gray upperparts, buffy underparts, and a distinct eye-ring.

Where To Find This Bird

Swainson’s Warblers breed from eastern Texas to southern Virginia and spend their winters in Central America or northern South America. They prefer to nest in areas with thick shrubs, vines, ferns or young trees close to water sources such as streams or wetlands.


They are found primarily in bottomland hardwood forests but can also be seen occasionally in upland mixed hardwood-pine forests along ridges next to open fields that offer abundant insects for food.


Swainson’s Warblers eat insects mainly composed of spiders which they search for by hopping on the ground amidst leaves and dead twigs searching for prey.

Cool Facts

– Swainson’s warblers are known for their unique song which sounds like an insect buzzing; it is often described as “tzee-bzzz” sound.
– These birds build nests on or near the ground using mostly leaf litter; this makes them very vulnerable to flooding.
– During winter months when these birds migrate south they will use established forest trails rather than flying over open spaces making them more susceptible predators while migrating especially if habitat destruction occurs along migratory routes.

In conclusion, Swainson’s warbler may be little-known but its elusive behavior adds excitement among birders and wildlife enthusiasts alike. They are best appreciated in their natural habitat where they hide among the thick underbrush, making them a challenging find for bird watchers. The warbler’s unique song adds to its allure as one of nature’s mysterious creatures living deep within the forested areas of the eastern United States.