- Federal Status: Endangered (Presumed Extinct)
- FL Status: Federally-designated Endangered
- FNAI Ranks: Not Ranked
- IUCN Status: CR (Critically Endangered)
The Bachman’s wood warbler is the rarest songbird endemic to the U.S. (Coder and Jackson 1994). This species can reach a body length of 3.9-4.3 inches (10-11 centimeters) with a wingspan of 4.25-4.75 inches (10.8-12.1 centimeters) (University of Georgia 2008, Alsop 2002). Male’s have a gray nape (back of neck), yellow chin and belly, olive upper part of the tail, back, and wings, yellow forehead, and a black patch on their crown. Females differ with a gray patch on their crown and a pale olive back (University of Georgia 2008). This species may be extinct. The last confirmed sighting of a nest was in 1937 (BirdLife International 2011).
The diet of the Bachman’s wood warbler primarily consists of insects and other small arthropods (Hamel 2011).
Little is known about the life history of the Bachman’s wood warbler. Nesting occurs between late March and early June, after the spring floods. Nests are built in heavy undergrowth, within 3.3 feet (one meter) from the ground (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Multi-Species Recovery Plan, n.d.). Nests are constructed with grass, leaves, and moss, while lined with high-quality vegetation material and Spanish moss. The average clutch size for Bachman’s wood warbler is three to five eggs (University of Georgia 2008).
The Bachman’s wood warbler inhabits bottomland forests and swamps (along with canebrakes) (Alsop 2002). This species is found in Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina, while wintering in Florida and Cuba (BirdLife International 2011). In Florida, the species is found in Monroe and Miami-Dade counties (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile, n.d.)
Due to the lack of information on the ecology and life history of the Bachman’s wood warbler, and the lack of recent sightings, conservation management strategies and threats are difficult to determine. This species’ large breeding range is a threat as its low population numbers can prevent the birds from finding mates. During the late 1800’s, collisions with lighthouses were listed as a threat to the species. Presently, collisions with similar size structures could be a threat towards the species (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Multi-Species Recovery Plan, n.d.).
Conservation and Management
The Bachman’s wood warbler is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This species is also protected as an Endangered species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Endangered species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.
Alsop, F. J. (2002). Birds of Florida. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley Inc. Page 36
BirdLife International (2011) Species factsheet: Vermivora bachmanii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/07/2011.
University of Georgia. (2008). Bachman’s Warbler Vermivora bachmanii. Retrieved July 25, 2011, from Museum of Natural History: http://fishesofgeorgia.uga.edu/gawildlife/index.php?page=speciespages/species_page&key=vbachmanii
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Multi-Species Recovery Plan. (n.d.). Bachman’s Wood Warbler Vermivora bachmanii. Retrieved July 25, 2011, from South Florida Ecological Services Office: http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/MSRPPDFs/Bachmanswarbler.pdf