Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-19

Common name:

Magnolia Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga magnolia
Date: May 12, 2020
Time: 9:24 am
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Sex: Female
Location: Birch Creek
Latilong: 38.4403952, -111.9463978
Elevation: ~7,000 feet
Distance to bird: 20 feet
Optical equipment: Swarovski SLC 10x42 binoculars. Nikon P900 camera.
Weather: Clear skies. 60's. Calm.
Light Conditions: Clear skies.
Description:        Size of bird: Small-Medium
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Yellow, black, gray
(Description:)            Bill Type: All purpose
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Warbler with a yellow belly, chest, and throat that had black streaked flanks and a "necklace". Gray head with a black mask. Olive back with some dark spots. 2 narrow white wing bars on a dark wing. White under-tail coverts. Long, black tipped tail.

Continuously watched the bird for about 30 minutes. Kept company with a Wilson's Warbler. Stayed in the same 30-40 foot section of riverside trees and brush the entire time. Even stopped for a quick bath in the stream for a minute or two.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Did not vocalize.
Behavior: Foraging and flitting about in general warbler-like fashion.
Habitat: Riparian. Willows, cottonwoods, riverside brush.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
I immediately knew and recognized the species as a Magnolia Warbler on my first look and did not need to truly "eliminate" other species. The color configuration of a yellow belly, chest, and throat with black streaks on flanks and partial black "necklace", along with the black mask, and white under-tail coverts on a black tipped tail were obvious. Gray head. Olive back.

Expected species such as Yellow-rumped, Grace's, or possibly a Townsend's were eliminated by simple familiarity with those species. The field marks described above rule out these species.
Yellow-rumped have numerous variations and color schemes that could appear similar to a Magnolia at times, but not all of them together. No constant yellow from the throat all the way down. No mask or necklace.
A Grace's has a white belly, no olive in the back, no black mask or necklace.
A Townsend's would NOT have a gray head, although they have the black streaks on their flanks, not quite a "necklace" of streaks on their neck, as well as black on their face that could appear as a "mask".

Equally and potentially more rare species for Utah would be Blackburnian, Black-throated Green, Kirtland's, Prairie, Yellow-throated, Canada, Cape May, or Chestnut sided. Once again, the above mentioned field marks rule these species out as well.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen this species in at least a dozen other states and countries at multiple different times of the year. I knew it immediately.
References consulted: I use Sibley's and ibird on my phone most of the time.
Description from: From memory
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Steve Clark
Observer's address: 1045 S 1700 W Apt 623, Payson, UT, 84651
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: May 22, 2020
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: eBird checklist with photos