Make the ID: Magnolia vs Canada Warbler

Magnolia and Canada warblers ID
Male Magnolia and Canada Warblers; Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
Fast-moving warblers in spring can often look similar.  You see a flash of bright yellow underneath and a necklace…..which is it – Magnolia or Canada Warbler? Here are a few tips to help you decide.
  • Necklace: the streaky necklace on Magnolia Warblers extends under the wings; Canada Warblers have a very short, thinner necklace
  • Eye-ring: Canada Warblers have a bold white eye-ring on grey feathers which extend to just below the eye; Magnolia Warblers have a crescent of white under and over the eye on a black mask
  • Wings: Magnolia Warblers, when their wings are closed, have a small white “handkerchief”; Canada Warblers have no wing bars.
  • Male Magnolia Warblers have more back and facial patterns and visual complexity than Canada Warblers.
  • Female Magnolia warblers can look similar to male Canada Warblers but have no necklace.
It’s always a good spring when either of these iconic warblers are around! Get to know the differences so you are ready to make the ID.