Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Prothonotary Warbler

Scientific name: Protonotaria citrea
Date: June 10, 2012
Time: 1 pm
Length of time observed: 4 hours
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: Fort Buenaventura
County: Weber
Latilong: 41�12'50.19"N 111�59'17.83"W
Elevation: 4308
Distance to bird: 25-35 feet
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binos
Weather: Sunny, 70's
Light Conditions: Dappled shade
Description:        Size of bird: small passerine
(Description:)       Basic Shape: chunky warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: bright yellow head, breast, belly, white beyond legs, blue/gray back, wings, folded tail
(Description:)            Bill Type: insect gleaner
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
A husky-looking warbler. Large head, robust body, thick, shorter tail. Very bright yellow head, throat, breast and belly; yellow richest on throat and upper breast and tinged with orange. Color like the head of a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Olive green back. Unmarked blue-gray wings and tail. When flared, tail feathers showed significant white and gray appeared to be only along narrow outside edge and at tip. Yellow belly faded to white at about legs. White undertail coverts. Tail spot pattern showed mostly white with rounded tips of outer tail feathers gray. Black insect-gleaning bill proportionately large for a warbler; about 3/4 the length of the bird's head from front to back. Black eye and legs. Crown feathers at forehead appeared to be stuck with some substance, rather than appearing smooth yellow.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Song: four loud, clear, sweet notes: "Seeya-seeya-seeya-seeya"; a robust chip call and an agitated twittering when close to a Yellow Warbler nest.
Behavior: Very territorial. Sang loudly and frequently from dead cottonwood branches just under live, mature canopy. Chased what appeared to be a Yellow Warbler and Black-capped Chickadees away from the area he was defending, which happened to be the area immediately around a Yellow Warbler nest. Did not act aggressively toward the female, who was feeding and brooding young nestlings in a soft grassy cup 3 1/2 feet above the ground. PRWA sometimes intercepted the female YEWA on her gleaning trips and followed her back to the nest. Several times, he approached the nest twittering loudly; once perched next to the nest peering in at the nestlings with his beak opened broadly. Did not see him deliver insects. Seemed to stand on one foot while singing sometimes, tucking the other into his feathers. Gleaned insects from cottonwood foliage, sometimes suspending himself vertically and head down. Came down low many times to the nest, within the understory at about 6 feet, or apparent!
ly to the edge of a nearby pond.
Habitat: Cottonwood gallery forest
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Blue-winged Warbler: No black eyeline, no white wing-bars.
From Yellow Warbler: White undertail coverts, blue-gray wings.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Two previous; 2006 in Morgan and 2007 at the Salt Lake IC
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Kristin Purdy
Observer's address: Ogden, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Paul Higgins, David Wheeler, Jack Binch
Date prepared: June 10, 2012
Additional material: Photos