Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-15

Common name:

Hooded Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga citrina
Date: 05/09/2020
Time: 9:00 am
Length of time observed: 30 seconds
Number: 1
Sex: F
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Latilong: 4 m
Distance to bird:  
Optical equipment: Bins
Light Conditions:  
Description:        Size of bird: Warbler size
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Yellow with white outer tail
(Description:)            Bill Type: Warbler
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The first thing I noticed about this bird was the fanned tail with white outer tail feathers combined with a yellow belly. It was a striking image! The tail was immediately reminiscent of a redstart such as a Painted Redstart in the way that the bird held it out fanned. Then I got a good look at the underside of the body which was all yellow, unstreaked. It had a dark mark on the cap reminiscent of a Wilson's Warbler but it wasn't well-defined and glossy like a male Wilson's, more of a dark smudge. There weren't any throat markings so I would say it was a female.
Song or call & method of delivery: The warbler called (chips) a few times and was a good match for Hooded. I noted straight away that it was much higher in pitch than the 'chuff' of a Wilson's warbler and lacked the punch of a Yellow Warbler.
Behavior: The warbler was flitting through the branches, tail fanned.
Habitat: I first spotted the bird about 6 m off the ground in the lowest branch of a tree. I would not say that that was 'understory' but there wasn't a great deal of understory about and it wasn't that high up.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
With the darker cap I was immediately thinking of Wilson's warbler but the white outer tail and higher pitched called rule that out. Those field marks also rule out Yellow Warbler. Then I thought maybe Prothonotary Warbler because of the white tail but they lack the darker cap. Redstart spp. can also be ruled out for the wrong body coloration.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen Hooded Warblers in Mexico. Yellow Warblers are of course ubiquitous in Utah. I've seen several Wilson's Warblers in the west. I am very familiar with the calls of the latter two.
References consulted: At the time I checked all of these warblers in Sibley. I have since looked at photos of female Hooded Warblers online and they match my description and memory.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Monte Neate-Clegg
Observer's address: 161 South 1100 East
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: While they did not identify the bird, I did bump into the Malmquists and Mike said he had seen a small bird with a fanned white tail although I don't think he saw much more than that.
Date prepared: 05/11/2020
Additional material:  
Additional comments: