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Black-throated Gray Warbler, Ian Routley
Photo © Ian Routley

Photo: Ian Routley
Breeding evidence - Black-throated Gray Warbler
Breeding evidence
Probability of observation - Black-throated Gray Warbler
Probability of observation
Elevation plot - Black-throated Gray Warbler
Elevation plot

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Black-throated Gray Warbler
Setophaga nigrescens
Landscape associations:

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Elevation range:
0 - 1307 m
Conserv. status:
Not at risk
Global importance
of B.C. population:
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
60 60 243 199
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
Brit. Col.1970 - 2012 -1.93 (-6.57 - 0.77)Low
Canada1973 - 2012 -1.8 (-9.16 - 1.12)Low

Mean abundance by region

Bird Conservation Regions [plot]
NW Interior ForestBoreal Taiga PlainsGreat BasinNorthern RockiesN. Pacific Rainforest
   0.11  0.15
Ecoprovinces [plot]
N. Boreal Mountains Taiga Plains Boreal Plains Georgia Depression Sub-Boreal Interior
S. Interior Mountains Central Interior Southern Interior S. Alaska Mountains Coast & Mountains
   0.1  0.18

Mean abundance by habitat [plot]

Boreal Altai Fescue AlpineBoreal White and Black SpruceBunchgrassCoastal Douglas-fir
Coastal Mountain-heather AlpineCoastal Western HemlockEngelmann Spruce -- Subalpine FirInterior Cedar -- Hemlock
Interior Douglas-firInterior Mountain-heather AlpineMontane SpruceMountain Hemlock
0.11 0.1 
Ponderosa PineSpruce -- Willow -- BirchSub-Boreal Pine -- SpruceSub-Boreal Spruce

Characteristics and Range This elegant black, white, and grey warbler is striking and easily identified. It breeds west of the Rocky Mountains from southwestern British Columbia to the northern Sierra Madre and northern Baja California in far northern Mexico (Guzy and Lowther 2012). A short- to medium-distance migrant, it winters chiefly in southern Baja California, and on the Pacific slope and in the interior of central Mexico; some winter further north in the southwestern United States.

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat The Black-throated Gray Warbler breeds widely across southwestern British Columbia, mostly confined to the southern Northern Pacific Rainforest Bird Conservation Region south of 51░N. The species was scarce or irregular a century ago on the east coast of Vancouver Island, but is now well established. The Atlas greatly expanded the confirmed breeding distribution. Campbell et al. (2001) noted that there were scattered non-breeding records as far north as the north coast of British Columbia, and the Atlas confirmed breeding north of 54░N, along the Skeena River.

The most extensive areas of highest Probability of Observation are in the Georgia Depression and southern Coast and Mountains ecoprovinces, matching the distribution data. Highest abundance is also in these areas, within the Coastal Douglas-fir and Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zones, below 250 m elevation, above which abundance tails off gradually to 1,000 m. Open coniferous or mixed coniferous-deciduous woodland with brushy undergrowth are preferred breeding habitats. There has been no major change in the centre of breeding abundance in the province since 1970 (Environment Canada 2013).

Conservation and Recommendations Trends in the northern part of the Black-throated Gray Warbler's breeding range appear to be generally stable and there are no known conservation concerns for the species, although its biology is poorly known.

Art Martell

Recommended citation: Martell, A. 2015. Black-throated Gray Warbler in Davidson, P.J.A., R.J. Cannings, A.R. Couturier, D. Lepage, and C.M. Di Corrado (eds.). The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, 2008-2012. Bird Studies Canada. Delta, B.C. [13 Jul 2024]

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