WatchList Species Account for Hermit Warbler
(Dendroica occidentalis)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Hermit Warbler by Scott Streit

Photo: Scott Streit

Foraging in the canopy and interior of tall, moist coniferous forests, the Hermit Warbler breeds in the forests of the Coast, Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains in southwestern Washington, western Oregon, and northern and central California. It also occurs in lowlands along the coast. It winters above 2,000 meters in the pineand pine-oak forests of the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala with some south in the mountains to Nicaragua and Costa Rica.


Though Breeding Bird Survey data indicates its population densities have remained stable since the late 60s, it is likely that the overall population size has diminished due to loss of habitat on both the breeding and wintering grounds. In addition, the bird is hybridizing with and being displaced by the closely-related Townsend’s Warbler in large parts of its range. The Hermit Warbler once occurred in the Olympic Peninsula and into British Columbia, areas now occupied only by the Townsend’s.


Extensive logging has diminished its habitat; the bird is not found in clear-cuts. The bird would benefit from longer rotations in logging, reduced edge, and maintainance of high canopy closure of its preferred coniferous species. A better understanding of the bird’s habitat requirements and behavior on the wintering grounds is needed. As a habitat specialist with a narrow geographic range and relatively small populations, the species is vulnerable and should be monitored.