Northern Parula – Accepted

1. 19 May 1972


Morongo Valley SBE



2. 25 July 1972


Waddell Creek SCZ



3. 19–25 Sep 1972


Pacific Grove MTY



4. 27 May 1973


Oasis MNO



5. 30 May 1973


Furnace Creek Ranch INY



6. 03–07 Oct 1973


Otay Mesa SD









Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

NORTHERN PARULA Parula americana (Linnaeus, 1758)

Accepted: 6 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: 1972 and 1973 records

Not submitted/reviewed: NA

Color image: none

This petite warbler’s northern breeding limit extends from southeastern Manitoba east to Nova Scotia. The southern breeding limit extends from central Texas east to Florida. The species migrates across the East and winters mainly in the West Indies. Smaller numbers winter in Florida, Bermuda, and Middle America from Veracruz south to Belize. Wintering birds occur rarely to casually elsewhere in the southern United States, in southern Central America, and on islands off Venezuela. The species is a rare, regular migrant across the West, especially in spring. Extralimital records extend to southern coastal Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles (several), and France.

The overwhelming majority of Northern Parulas found in California are transients, but the state’s first record is of a male and two females that raised three young from two nests at Pt. Lobos, Monterey County, between 18 May and 16 July 1952 (Williams et al. 1958). California has since accumulated records of about 900 Northern Parulas, including an astonishing total of 138+ individuals in 1992 alone (Terrill et al. 1992, Patten and Marantz 1996). As with other migratory passerines with large populations breeding in the Southeast, the numbers of vagrant Northern Parulas reaching California have increased greatly since the early 1970s (Patten and Marantz 1996). Roughly two-thirds are spring vagrants (6 April–6 July, with a peak in late May/early June); a few records from late March may pertain to wintering birds. Most of the remaining records involve fall vagrants (29 August–30 November, with a peak in late September); a few December records may involve late fall vagrants. Northern Parulas overwinter casually in the state, mostly along the coastal slope but with a substantial number from the interior (for example, Patten et al. 2003 listed nine winter records from the Salton Sink).

Since the early 1990s a very few breeding pairs have been found almost annually on the central coast (e.g., Roberson and Tenney 1993, Shuford 1993, Lehman 1994), and the species has also nested three times in coastal Humboldt County (Hunter et al. 2005, NAB 55:480; 59:652), once north of Blythe in eastern Riverside County (Rosenberg et al. 1991), and once in the San Bernardino Mts. (Dunn and Garrett 1997). Two pairs were recorded in Los Angeles County during summer 2004—one in Eaton Canyon in the San Gabriel Mts. and the other near the coast at Harbor Regional Park, where a “possible” juvenile was seen in August (NAB 58:602). The 15 August 2005 record of an adult male with a juvenile in Huntington Beach, Orange County, also suggested local breeding (NAB 59:150).