WatchList Species Account for Kentucky Warbler
(Oporomis formosus)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Kentucky Warbler by FWS

Photo: Barth Schorre

Populations of the Kentucky Warbler have been slowly declining since about 1980; the Breeding Bird Survey indicates a 1% annual loss coinciding with this period.


This bird’s preferred nesting habitat is second-growth deciduous forest with a dense understory of shrubs and vines. Increased development and recreation pressure in the core of its range, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cumberland Plateau, may play a role in the bird’s decline, though destruction of habitat through clearing for agriculture and pastureland in its Central American wintering grounds may be taking an even more significant toll on its population size.


In its U.S. breeding grounds, management practices favoring a dense understory and extensive ground cover can improve forest habitat for the bird. Some selective cutting in such forests are acceptable, since the bird tolerates openings in the canopy.