Blue-winged Warbler
(Vermivora cyanoptera)


Picture of bird
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The Blue-winged Warbler is a very uncommon inhabitant of Canada, breeding only in southern Ontario and recently in southern Quebec. Results from the Breeding Bird Survey suggest a dramatic increase in the Canadian population since the early 1970s. Currently, habitat change due to changing land use is the primary cause for conservation concern (Gill et al. 2001). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-May and late May and ends in early July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

This early to mid-successional species tends to disappear in regions when forests regenerate, and is therefore subject to local extinction (Gill et al. 2001). Northeastern expansion of the Blue-winged Warbler may be the result of farmland abandonment, forest clear-cutting, and climate warming (Gill et al. 2001). The biology of this species is complicated by its inter-breeding relationship with the Golden-winged Warbler, with which it overlaps in range and habitat, and with which it hybridises. Deforestation and conversion of forest to coffee and other monoculture plantations may be reducing the species' winter range (Gill et al. 2001).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation