Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-33

Common name:

Palm warbler

Scientific name: Dendroica palmarum
Date: October 5, 2004
Time: 2:15 pm
Length of time observed: about 2 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: Mouth of Santaquin Canyon, south of the town of Santaquin
County: Utah
Elevation: 5000 ft
Distance to bird: 30 ft
Optical equipment: Celestron Ranger 10x50 binoculars
Weather: Sunny and warm
Light Conditions: excellent
Detailed description of bird: Upperparts and crown grayish brown, throat whitish, breast and belly grayish white with brown streaks on breast and flanks. Strong white supercilium and a dark eyeline. Undertail coverts bright yellow, undertail black at the base with white rounded patches at the end of the tail feathers.
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: Foraging half way up in a cottonwood tree and moving through foliage and branches of willows with a group of 3-4 yellow-rumped, and 2 orange-crowned warblers and several ruby-crowned kinglets. It was moving constantly and I could see it from many angles especially noting
the undertail-tail pattern adn the eye-stripe-supercilium on the face. Tail-pumping was not obvious to me because it was moving fairly rapidly
from branch to branch and I did not know to watch for it.
Habitat: The last sizeable group of tall cottonwoods and willows when you come out of the canyon along a brushy hillside opening up to weedy
fields and orchards.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
When I saw the white line above the eye I thought it could be a "Myrtle" yellow-rumped warbler, but a yellow-rump has white undertail coverts. Prairie warbler has an overall similar appearance in the fall, but again the undertail coverts are pale yellow or whitish with no black at the base of the tail, and the face pattern differs with white circular patterns above and under the eye. According to "Warblers" by Dunn/Garret Palm warbler is the only one with the yellow undertail coverts/black and white undertail pattern which I saw very clearly on this bird.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen a breeding plumage spring Palm warbler in Ohio, but am not familiar with fall individuals. When I saw it I thought that it must be one of the "P" warblers we don't get in the West, and had to consult my Sibley to confirm the fieldmarks of the Palm warbler.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds, John Dunn/Kimball Garrett: Warblers
Description from: From memory
Observer: Tuula Rose
Observer's address: 1161 S 1060 E, Provo, UT 84606
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none
Date prepared: 10.16.2004    (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: