The Olive Warbler is one of those odd species that was lumped at one time with the New World Wood Warbler family, the Parulidae. Other birds with an identity crisis are the Yellow-breast Chat and Arctic warbler. The chat was one lumped with the Wood Warblers, but has been 86’d by taxonomists to it’s own family. The Arctic Warbler of Alaska never was a Wood Warbler as it belongs to the Old World warbler family found throughout Europe and Asia.
Today the Olive Warbler is placed outside the Wood Warblers in it’s own family. In the American Southwest, it is a sky island dweller found in southern Arizona and New Mexico where it favors montane forests of fir, pine and oak. It tends to stay high in the canopy and while I’ve seen the bird in the Huachuca’s and Mt. Lemmon and I have found it a difficult bird to get a good look at.
The color olive or olive orange on the Olive Warbler is found on the head and breast; there is a dark eye patch on the male which becomes more of an outlined smudge on the female’s face. The rest of the body is gray with two bold wing bars.
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