Black-and-White Warbler

Capturing great video of warblers is challenging because most individuals of most species move around incessantly, often flying to a new perch just before singing each song. The Black-and-White Warbler is no exception, so you can imagine how delighted I was to get the following exciting footage:

placeholder image for Black-and-White Warbler video portrait

This video portrait is constructed of clips I gathered on April 28, 2010, at Land Between the Lakes Kentucky. The high contrast lighting was challenging for my video setup, with the warbler clothed in black and white flying from perch to perch in the sun-dappled understory. My equipment performed admirably—some of my favorite clips depict the bird partly in shadow and partly in sunlight, and the results look natural and pleasing to me!

Black-and-White Warbler Song

The typical song of a male is composed of a series of about seven squeaky 2-part syllables, rapidly delivered: wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see. The bird in the video averages closer to nine syllables within each song, which I presume is an individual variation. In some males, the last few syllables vary slightly from those prior.

Male black-and-whites also have more complex alternate songs, which are probably equivalent to what is called the “Type 2” song of many other warblers. Such songs are typically given during aggressive encounters and possibly at dawn. Here is an example of a three-parted song of a male I recorded years ago in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Note the occasional chip notes, plus the fact that he begins each song with a chip:

Complex, three-parted songs and chips of a male Black-and-White Warbler. Recorded by Lang Elliott near Paul Smiths, New York, May 19, 1989.


  1. Absolutely amazing video! I’ve only ever heard Black-And-White Warblers give their typical song, not a complex song or a nine-syllabled song. I absolutely love the recording of the Black-And-White Warbler giving a complex song. How unusual that is that it starts its song with a chip, and I absolutely love the distant Hermit Thrushes. I assume now that Hermit Thrushes are very common in New York, since I hear them in the background of a lot of your recordings from New York.

  2. Amazing. This is a terrific video. I love the light too. Interesting song as well. More syllables than the typical Black-and-white warbler.

  3. I just love your site. The quality of the video and the sound is amazing. You could make a video field guide showing the bird, the sound, and the typical habitat with all the posts you have. It really is just wonderful! Thanks for doing this great work.

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