Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Connecticut Warbler - Oporornis agilis
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General Comments The Connecticut Warbler, poorly named, is one of the less common warblers in North America. It has a narrow east-west breeding range across southern Canada and extreme northern United States, and it nests east only to central Quebec. Despite its "central" breeding range, it winters mainly in the West Indies, with completely different migration routes in spring and fall. In spring, migrants move northwestward to hit North Carolina primarily in the southwestern quarter of the state; in fall, migrants move mostly east-southeastward to the Atlantic coast, and birds in North Carolina are more likely to be seen along the coast and in the eastern half of the state. Connecticut Warblers, like Ovenbirds, walk on the ground, and favor leafy deciduous forests in migration. In fall, maritime forests are also important stop-over habitats, though they can occur in maritime thickets, as well.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G4G5
Coastal Plain Transient, in fall. Accidental in spring -- the only report is one at Fort Macon (Carteret) on 26 May 1979 [Chat 53:36-38 link]. In fall, very rare to rare over the region as a whole, but rare to uncommon on the Outer Banks; more likely to be seen at Buxton Woods than elsewhere. Mainly from mid-Sep to mid-Oct; range of dates is 2 Sep and 23 Oct. Peak counts: 8, including 5 tower-killed birds, in Buxton (Dare), 26-28 Sep 1984 [Chat 49:40 link]; 4, Cape Hatteras Point (Dare), 1 Oct 2022.
Piedmont Transient, primarily in fall. Casual to very rare in spring in the southwestern half of the region, and accidental (absent in many well-studied counties) in the eastern portions. In fall, very rare to rare in the eastern portion, and very rare farther westward. Despite this overall scarcity in the province, there are about five times as many reports in fall as in spring. One was early at Lenoir (Caldwell) on 25 Aug 2015. A window-killed bird on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill (Orange) on 23 May 2018 was one of the very few spring records for the eastern half of the province. Mainly early to late May, and mid-Sep to mid-Oct, and once to 7 Nov. Peak counts:
Mountains Transient, more frequent in spring than in fall. Rare but regular in spring across the southern half of the province, and very rare in the northern portions. In fall, very rare across the region. Mainly early to late May (all spring records in this month, except for a 26 Apr record), and late Sep to early Oct. Two seen at Jackson Park (Henderson) on 10 Oct 2019 was notable for being a report of more than a single bird. Peak counts:
Finding Tips The only semi-reliable spots are Jackson Park in Hendersonville in mid-May, and Buxton Woods in Dare in fall. Even at these places, an observer might do well to see one or two in a week.
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Attribution LeGrand[2023-04-03], LeGrand[2023-03-20], LeGrand[2020-08-03]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.