Species At Risk

Canada Warbler

(Cardellina canadensis)

special concern

Canada Warbler


The Canada Warbler is a small, brightly- coloured songbird. Males are more brightly coloured than females, with bluish-grey upperparts and tail and bright yellow underparts. The head is bluish with a black forehead and “sideburns,” which join to form a distinctive necklace of black stripes across its chest.

In the spring, males can be heard singing a distinctive song of clear, liquid notes ending emphatically.

Action we are taking:


The Canada Warbler only breeds in North America and 80 per cent of its known breeding range is in Canada. Its primary breeding range is in the Boreal Shield, extending north into the Hudson Plains and south into the Mixedwood Plains. Although the Canada Warbler breeds at low densities across its range, in Ontario, it is most abundant along the Southern Shield.


The Canada Warbler breeds in a range of deciduous and coniferous, usually wet forest types, all with a well- developed, dense shrub layer. Dense shrub and understory vegetation help conceal Canada Warbler nests that are usually located on or near the ground on mossy logs or roots, along stream banks or on hummocks. It winters in South America. In its wintering range in South America, the Canada Warbler prefers the dense shrub understories of mature cloud and rain forests, second-growth forests, as well as coffee plantations and farm field edges.


A reduction in forests with a well-developed shrub-layer has likely impacted Canada Warblers throughout their breeding range. Canada Warblers likely face extensive pressure on their wintering grounds in South America, where deforestation is a widespread problem.


The Canada Warbler is a special concern species under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. A management plan for this species will be prepared.

Canada Warbler was assessed as a threatened species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

What You Can Do to Help the Canada Warbler

  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • As with all wildlife, don’t disturb or harass the birds or nesting sites. Be respectful and observe from a distance.
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Canada Warbler. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • As with many other rare plants and animals, the Canada Warbler is at risk due to the loss of forested areas. You can help by protecting any forests and surrounding natural vegetation on your property.
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find Canada Warbler on your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Bird Studies Canada is working to advance the understanding, appreciation and conservation of wild birds and their habitat in Ontario and elsewhere. For more information on how you can help, visit: www.bsc-eoc.org.

Did you know?

The Canada Warbler is difficult to observe in Canada because it lives in dense forest that is difficult to walk and see through.

Did you know?

The Canada Warbler is one of the last migratory songbird species to arrive on Canadian nesting grounds in the spring and is also one of the first species to leave at the end of summer.