Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata Scientific name definitions

William DeLuca, Rebecca Holberton, Pamela D. Hunt, and Bonita C. Eliason
Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020
Text last updated June 4, 2013

Priorities for Future Research


Although the breeding biology of this species has been well studied in the southeastern portion of its range, little is known of its biology across Alaska and n. Canada, where the bulk of the population is found. Of particular interest in this area would be studies of mating system, site fidelity, and breeding phenology (including incidence of double-brooding),which could be compared with data from populations that have received more attention in the southeastern and eastern portion of its range. Other breeding-season studies yet to be undertaken include those of song and singing behavior. Population trends should also continue to be monitored closely given the precipitous recent population declines. Given the potential for considerable habitat loss as a result of climate change, more study is warranted at the southern edge of the species' range, especially in light of potential population declines in this area.

Although most authorities agree on the nature of the Blackpoll Warbler's fall migration route, research is still needed to determine the importance and risks of an overwater flight from eastern North America to northern South America, especially given the relationship between storm intensity in the North Atlantic and banding station captures the following year (Butler 2000). In addition, there is growing concern for potential risks from coastal and offshore wind energy and increased oil and gas activities along the Atlantic coast. Of particular interest here are studies of orientation at various points along the proposed route and physiological studies of flight capacity. A standardized program of banding would also allow more detailed analysis of migration timing, movements, and patterns of weight loss/gain. The spring migration route is even less well known; because it too may involve a substantial overwater flight, similar studies as proposed for fall would be useful. Technological advances in geolocator technology have the potential to allow for direct tracking of individuals over the course of an annual migration, and should be considered once these devices can be made small enough for Blackpoll Warblers.

Given the remoteness of the Blackpoll's winter range, almost any data on winter ecology would be valuable. Of particular interest is more detailed analysis of the following subjects: the extent of frugivory and participation in mixed-species flocks, habitat use, population densities, and behaviors associated with arrival in wintering areas following fall migration. Furthermore, given the alarming recent population declines and lack of a compelling link to the breeding grounds, the winter range and migratory routes need to be carefully examined for potential contributions to these declines.

Recommended Citation

DeLuca, W., R. Holberton, P. D. Hunt, and B. C. Eliason (2020). Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.bkpwar.01