WatchList Species Account for Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Prothonotary Warbler
Photo: Greg Lavaty

The Prothonotary Warbler breeds in bottomland hardwoods and other forested wetlands with standing water, primarily in the southeastern states, but also in smaller numbers as far north as southern Ontario.

During the winter it is found in coastal mangroves in Central America and northern South America.


Unlike other warblers in the East, the Prothonotary nests in cavities and will make use of nest boxes. Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data from 1966 to 1996 show an annual decline of 1.6%.


Though destruction of bottomland forest has meant less breeding habitat for the bird, the greatest threat to it is probably the destruction of mangroves on its wintering grounds. This has been due to coastal development and agriculture, which have resulted in destruction of over half the original mangroves in northern South America.


Prevention of further destruction of mangrove forest and restoration of forested wetlands in the southeastern U.S. are the most important conservation measures that would protect this warbler.