The Golden-winged Warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera, is a New World warbler, 11.6 cm long and weighing 8.5 g. It breeds in eastern North America in southeastern Canada and the eastern USA. Its range is extending northwards, but in the south it is being replaced by the very closely related Blue-winged Warbler, Vermivora pinus.
Male has black throat; black ear patch bordered in white; yellow crown and wing patch. Females are similar but duller. In both sexes, extensive white on tail is conspicuous from below. underparts are grayish white, bill is long and slender.
It is migratory, wintering in southern Central America and the neighboring regions in Colombia and Venezuela; also Ecuador. This is a very rare vagrant to western Europe, with a single record of a bird wintering in a supermarket car park in Maidstone, Kent in 1989.
The breeding male Golden-winged Warbler is unmistakable. It is gray above and whitish below. The crown and wing patches are yellow and the eye mask and throat are black, separated by white. Females are duller, with the black of the face pattern replaced by gray.
The breeding habitat is open scrubby areas. Golden-winged Warblers nest on the ground or low in a bush, laying 4-5 eggs in a cup nest.
These birds feed on insects, and spiders.
The song is a trilled bzzzz buzz buzz buzz. The call is a sharp chip.
This species forms two distinctive hybrids with Blue-winged Warbler where their ranges overlap in the Great Lakes and New England area. The commoner, genetically dominant Brewster's Warbler is gray above and whitish (male) or yellow (female) below. It has a black eyestripe and two white wingbars.
The rarer recessive Lawrence's Warbler has a male plumage which is green and yellow above and yellow below, with white wing bars and the same face pattern as male Golden-winged. The female is gray above and whitish below with two yellow wing bars and the same face pattern as female Golden-winged.