Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2007-22

Common name:

Prothonotary Warbler

Scientific name: Protonotaria citrea
Date: Nov 2, 2006
Time: 10:00-11:00
Length of time observed: 45 min - 1 hr
Number: 1
Age: First-year or adult
Sex: Male
Location: 773 and 796N. 700E., Morgan
County: Morgan
Latilong: 3
Elevation: Unk
Distance to bird: 10-30 feet
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars
Weather: Clear and sunny
Light Conditions: Full sun to dappled shade
Description:        Size of bird: Small passerine
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Stout body, short-tailed
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Yellow head and underparts; gray wings and tail
(Description:)            Bill Type: Insect-eating; piercing
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Overall chunky-looking warbler due to larger body size than most warblers, relatively large head and short, wide tail.

Bare parts:
Bill: more like an oriole than a warbler; thicker and longer than typical warbler bills. Upper mandible dark, lower mandible horn-colored on basal portion and dark on distal end.
Eye: large and black.
Legs and feet: steely gray-blue.

Bold bright yellow with olive tinge to forehead, crown and nape. Sides of face and throat: bright yellow.

Upper parts:
Mantle: yellow-green, contrasting slightly with nape.
Lower back and uppertail coverts: gray
Wings and tail: unmarked gray; bluish cast in low light. Unmarked.

Under parts:
Breast and belly: same bright yellow as face. Missing a clump of feathers on right side.
Vent area, undertail coverts: white.

Didn't see tail spot pattern.

(see photos)

Song or call & method of delivery: High-pitched, tiny "Seep" call in flight.
Behavior: Moving and foraging constantly in small trees, low hedges and garden plants or on the ground. Saw the bird eat a daddy long-legs on the ground; other observers saw the bird forage in hawthorne and maple trees, forage for aphids in a low hedge, and frequent a garden with
dried corn plants. Bird was most frequently seen piercing and eating grapes in a garden.

In flight, bird seemed to make a beeline to its next foraging location; no wavering or indecision displayed in flight route.
Habitat: Rural neighborhood yards
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Clear yellow face and underparts with unmarked gray wings shown only by this species.

Lack of dark facial and upper breast markings and wing bars eliminates Blue-winged Warbler and Blue-winged x Golden-winged hybrids.
Gray wings and short tail eliminate female Hooded and Yellow Warblers.
Lack of yellow spectacles and white wing-bars eliminate Yellow-green Vireo.
White undertail coverts, bill type and lack of wing-bars eliminate tanagers.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
None with Prothonotary, Golden-winged, Hooded Warblers or Y-g Vireo; have seen the other comparison species sparingly except for ubiquitous Yellow Warbler.
References consulted: Sibley, Peterson's Warblers, Cornell's BNA species account
Description from: From memory
Observer: Kristin M. Purdy
Observer's address: 1961 Arapaho Circle, Ogden, UT 84403
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Oct 31 - Nov 6: Arnold Smith
Oct 31: Aaron and Shauna Smith
Nov 2: Keith Evans, Pomera Fronce, Paul Higgins, Jack Rensel, David and
Petey Wheeler
Nov 4: Glenn Barlow, Lu Giddings, Cindy and Steve Sommerfeld, Mark
Stackhouse, Merrill Webb
Nov 5: Glenda Cotter, Carol Gwynn, MarJean Muhlestein, Donna and Glen
Nov 6: Edson Leite and Beth...?
Date prepared: Aug 9, 2007
Additional material: Paul Higgins' images
Additional Comments: Late submission due to a lame excuse; I thought Arnold would submit the report. Multiple observers and extensive photo documentation make this a good one to add to state records.