Blackburnian Warbler – Accepted

1. 06 Aug 1972

AHY male

Bucks Lake PLU



2. 30 Sep 1972


Otay Mesa SD



3. 09 Oct 1972


Costa Mesa ORA



4. 15 Oct 1973


Southeast Farallon I. SF



5. 15–18 Oct 1973


Southeast Farallon I. SF



6. 18 Oct 1973


Southeast Farallon I. SF



7. 03 Nov 1973


Kelso SBE















Figure 276. The CBRC reviewed records of the Blackburnian Warbler only briefly, in 1972 and 1973. This first-fall female was photographed on 28 September 1989 on Southeast Farallon Island (Peter Pyle).



Figure 401. Blackburnian Warblers are rare fall and casual spring vagrants to California, with few winter records. This first-fall male was photographed on 6 November 2002 at Moonglow Dairy in Monterey County (Bill Hill).







Blackburnian Warbler

BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER Dendroica fusca (Müller, 1776)

Accepted: 7 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: 1972 and 1973 records

Not submitted/reviewed: NA

Large color image: see Figures

This warbler’s northern breeding limit extends from eastern central Alberta (where local) east to southwestern Newfoundland. The southern limit extends from central Minnesota east to New England and south through the Appalachian Mts. to northern Georgia. The species winters far to the south, mainly in the Andes Mts. of northwestern South America but with reduced numbers elsewhere in South America and in southern Central America. The species overwinters casually far to the north of its usual range, with particularly exceptional winter records from Oregon and southern Ontario. Fall migrants occur casually to rarely in the West, from northern British Columbia and the southern Northwest Territories south to Baja California Sur; spring vagrants and wintering birds are much rarer. The most exceptional records include those from Surinam, Brazil, Greenland, waters off Iceland, and the British Isles.

California’s first Blackburnian Warbler was a first-fall bird collected on 21 October 1962 in the Tijuana River valley, San Diego County (McCaskie and Banks 1964, SDNHM 30470); later examination of the specimen’s plumage showed it to be a female (fide P. Unitt). The state now claims roughly 500 records, more than 90% involving coastal birds in fall (27 August–22 December, peaking from mid September through October). Only two records come from the Salton Sink: 18 October 1992 on the Alamo River seven miles southeast of Brawley (Patten et al. 2003) and 10–18 October 2005 in El Centro (NAB 60:142). Spring vagrants occur casually in the state between 26 May and 9 July, with a peak during the first half of June.

Blackburnian Warblers have been found past December on at least eight occasions: 29 December 1986–22 March 1987 in Pacific Grove, Monterey County (Roberson 2002); 14 December 1991–22 February 1992 in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County (AB 46:312); 20–28 January 1996 in La Crescenta, Los Angeles County (NAB 50:225); 26 December 1998–23 January 1999 on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles County (NAB 53:210); 24 February–12 March 1999 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County (NAB 53:210, fide K. L. Garrett); 2–10 January 2000 in Fernbridge, Humboldt County (NAB 54:219, fide D. Fix); 5–6 April 2002 in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County (NAB 56:358); and 8 December 2003–10 April 2004 in Imperial Beach, San Diego County (NAB 58:283). On the Pacific coast north of California, an adult male Blackburnian Warbler withstood the elements at Nehalem Meadows, Oregon, from 15 November 1987 to 12 March 1988 (Johnson 1988)—remarkable for a species that winters chiefly in South America.