WatchList Species Account for Cerulean Warbler
(Dendroica cerulea)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species

Photo: © Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Photo: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Formerly one of the most abundant breeding warblers in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, numbers of this lovely warbler fell sharply during the 20th century. Its decline is related to habitat loss and fragmentation of its preferred forest habitat, large areas of big deciduous trees in mature to older growth forest, where it forages high in the canopy. Although its prime nesting sites in old-growth bottomland forests and mesic upland forests have disappeared, the bird is beginning to use second-growth forest in landscapes once cleared for agriculture.

Though Breeding Bird Survey data show a significant decline in its numbers from 1966-1996, there are questions as to the adequacy of Breeding Bird Surveys, typically censused from roadsite routes, to monitor forest birds such as the Cerulean.


Among research needed are studies of its survivorship on its Andean wintering grounds, landscape characteristics and effects of fragmentation on its breeding grounds, and response of populations to various land management activities.