Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-36

Common name:

Mourning Warbler

Scientific name: Oporornis philadelphia
Date: Sept. 4, 2006
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Length of time observed: 5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: first winter
Sex: female
Location: River Lane
County: Utah
Distance to bird: 15 feet
Optical equipment: Pentax 10x42 DCF WP binoculars
Weather: warm, light breeze, clear
Light Conditions: sunny
Description:        Size of bird: large warbler (5+ inches)
(Description:)       Basic Shape: songbird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: olive, gray and yellow
(Description:)            Bill Type: thin, pointed
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Narrow white eye-ring, slightly broken in front and behind. Olive-gray head, olive upperparts. No wing bars. Throat was a dull yellow, underparts were a strong bright yellow without any
markings. Pale eyebrow. Olive-gray on head extended a little onto the upper breast, which with the dull throat, gave the bird a slight hooded appearance.
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: Foraging in low bushy branches. Moved in a slow, skulking manner. Stayed within the foliage, never came out into the open.
Habitat: riparian - thick streamside vegetation of bushes and trees.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
MacGillivray's Warbler (first winter/immature) has eye-ring arcs, grayish-white throat, and olive-brown hood that contrasts with the yellow underparts.
Connecticut Warbler has a complete eye-ring, brownish hood.
Nashville Warbler (immature) has complete eye-ring, gray hood, dull yellow underparts, and is smaller.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
adult Mourning Warblers in Ontario (1993) and Texas (1997) adult Connecticut Warbler in Ontario (1993) MacGillivray's Warbler - hundreds of sightings in all plumages
References consulted: Sibley, Peterson, National Geographic
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Joel Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: Sept. 6, 2006
Additional material:  
Additional comments: The bright yellow underparts are what initially caught my attention. On looking at the bird, I immediately noticed the very narrow white eye-ring. It took two or three careful looks to
verify that it was indeed narrowly broken in front and back. This, and the sight hooded affect, brought MacGillivray's to mind, but I immediately dismissed this as everything about the bird seemed wrong for MacGillivray's. Rather, the feeling was I was looking at something I'd never
seen before. Further observation just solidified this belief.