Cape May Warbler Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Small, active, insect-eating bird
- Thin, pointed bill
- Yellow rump
- Black legs

Adult male alternate
- Chestnut cheek patch
- Yellow on throat extends across side of face and onto
- Yellow supercilium
- Yellow underparts with crisp, heavy black streaking
- Belly and undertail coverts whiter than breast
- Olive crown and back with black streaks
- White patch on wings

Basic, female and immature
- Lacks cheek patch of alternate male
- Dull yellow on throat extends across side of face and
  onto nape
- Yellow supercilium
- Dull yellow to whitish-yellow underparts with fine
  black streaking
- Belly and undertail coverts paler than breast
- Olive to grayish crown and back with some black
- White wing bars

Similar species
The breeding-plumaged male Cape May Warbler is very distinctive with its heavily streaked yellow underparts and bold face pattern.

Females, and fall-plumaged birds are more difficult to identify. Some immatures can become rather grayish in fall with very dull markings. The extensive fine black streaking on the underparts and the yellow neck patch are diagnostic.

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is similar but has more blurry streaking on the breast that is not so extensive as the Cape May. It also has a brighter yellow rump and a thicker bill. Palm Warblers are somewhat similar but consistently wag their tails and have yellow undertail coverts.
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