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Photo by Sally King, National Park Service.
Grace?s is the smallest of the Dendroica warblers and has a strong preference for pines. It has a limited North and Central American range, including a restricted U.S. range, putting it at conservation risk.
A small bird, blue-gray overall, with crown and back streaked black. Throat and breast are yellow; remaining underparts white, with black streaking on the flanks. The bird shows white wingbars and extensive white in the tail.
This species has a limited breeding range, in the U.S. limited to the montane forests of southern Nevada, southern Utah, southwestern Colorado, and in appropriate habitat in Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. It occurs south through the Pacific slope of Mexico to Nicaragua. Northern populations withdraw in winter to Mexico.
Grace?s Warbler primarily breeds in montane pine-oak forests, especially where Ponderosa or yellow pine are the most prevalent species. Breeding season is from April to as late as late September. Northern populations winter in the Mexican highlands. Nest is a tight open cup consisting of plant fibers, oak catkins, spider and caterpillar webs. It is placed 20 to 60 feet up in a tree, typically a pine, and often hidden among pine needles. Usually, four eggs are laid, but sometimes they lay three or five. Its diet is not well documented, but presumably its primary food is insects, as in other warblers.
Grace?s Warbler has a limited breeding range with quite specific habitat requirements. This puts the species at risk from threats, especially habitat loss from development and logging, on both breeding and wintering grounds.
Grace?s Warbler inhabits some of the same pine-oak habitat as Mexican Spotted Owl, which has been federally listed in the U.S. as Threatened. Grace?s Warbler populations in the U.S. should benefit from any habitat protection designed to aid Mexican Spotted Owl conservation efforts.
What Can You Do?
Audubon?s Important Bird Area program is a vital tool for the conservation of Grace?s Warbler as well as other species. To learn more about the Important Bird Area programs in states with breeding populations of Grace?s Warbler, and how you can help, visit: http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/
Support local land trusts, government agencies, and other organizations working to preserve pine-oak forests in your area. Contact your state Important Bird Areas coordinator (http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/state_coords.html) to find out if there are sites in your area important for Grace?s Warbler that need increased protection.
Audubon and our partners in conservation coordinated the submission of over two million comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which would protect habitat for Grace?s Warbler and many other species. Unfortunately, implementation of the Rule has been stalled and attempts are being made to weaken it. To help in protecting these vital habitats visit: http://www.audubon.org/campaign/latestnews.html#roadless
CIPAMEX, Audubon?s BirdLife International partner in Mexico, has an Important Bird Areas program that is working to protect wintering habitat for Grace?s Warbler and many other species. To learn more about Mexico?s Important Bird Areas program and how you can help visit: http://126.96.36.199/wwwcampus/cipamex/
Information on where Grace?s Warbler occur and in what numbers is vital to conserving the species. Help in monitoring this and other species by reporting your sightings to eBird. A project of Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, eBird is the world?s first comprehensive on-line bird monitoring program: http://www.audubon.org/bird/ebird/index.html
Curson, Jon, et.al. 1994. Warblers of the Americas. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, and New York, NY.
Dunn, Jon and Kimball Garrett. 1997. Warblers. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, and New York, NY.
Kaufman, Kenn. 1996. Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.