Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    The Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) has one of the longest migrations of any small passerine, traveling approximately 4,000 km between breeding grounds in eastern North America and nonbreeding residency in northern South America. However, unlike many migratory birds, little is known about this aspect of the ecology of this species. In 2004 – 2009 teams of resident and foreign biologists conducted 181 line-transect surveys in Belize, southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, during the last week in March and the first three weeks of April. Results generally confirm Parker’s (1994) hypothesis that Cerulean Warblers stop in low mountains on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America in early April. However, in contrast to Parker’s observations of Cerulean Warblers between 600 and 750 m in Belize, sightings in this project were evenly distributed at these and elevations above and below this range. The frequency of encountering Cerulean Warblers was higher in Belize, southern Mexico and central Guatemala than elsewhere. The relatively low numbers of Cerulean Warblers encountered during spring migration (134 individuals during 701 h of surveys) call into question Parker’s suggestion that the entire population of Cerulean Warblers stops over in the Caribbean-facing mountains of northern Middle America. We suggest a new hypothesis consistent with results to date, that many of these birds fly directly from South America to North America in the spring.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Welton, Melinda J.; Anderson, David L.; Colorado, Gabriel J.; Hamel, Paul B.; Calderón-F., Diego. 2012. Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) spring migration stopover in northern Middle America. Ornitologia Neotropical 23(suppl.):289–305.


    Cerulean Warbler, long-distance migration, migratory stopover, mixed-species flocks, northern Middle America, Setophaga cerulea

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page