Black-and-white Warbler was one of a mixed flock of presumably migrating warblers that arrived in our neighborhood big trees yesterday afternoon after strong thunderstorms and even a tornado warning in central Martin County.
They remind me of nuthatches or creepers the way they spiral around and up and down trees, searching for insects in the bark.
Audubon Field Guide: Black-and-white Warbler…
This bird is often a favorite warbler for beginning birders, because it is easy to see and easy to recognize. It was once known as the “Black-and-white Creeper,” a name that describes its behavior quite well. Like a nuthatch or creeper (and unlike other warblers), it climbs about on the trunks and major limbs of trees, seeking insects in the bark crevices.
Northern Cardinal stopped by to see what all the fuss was about.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology…
The Black-and-white Warbler is the only member of the genus Mniotilta. The genus name means “moss-plucking,” a reference to its habit of probing bark and moss for insects.
These birds are boldly striped in black and white. Their black wings are highlighted by two wide, white wing bars. Adult males have more obvious black streaking, particularly on the underparts and the cheek. Females (especially immatures) are paler, with less streaking and usually a wash of buff on the flanks. The undertail coverts have distinctive large black spots.
Black-and-white Warblers typically use deciduous forests and mixed forests of deciduous trees and conifers. They can be found in many habitats during migration, especially woodlots and forests in riparian settings. On their tropical wintering grounds Black-and-white Warblers use an immense range of habitats, including lawns, gardens, and other urban settings, fruit orchards, shade-coffee plantations, wetlands, mangroves, and all types of forests.
I was able to get quite a few decent photos. They move a lot, but a little slower than other warblers, with more hopping than flying.
Black-and-white Warblers eat mostly insects. Moth and butterfly larvae form the bulk of their diet during spring migration and throughout the breeding season. Other arthropod prey includes ants, flies, spiders, click and leaf beetles, wood-borers, leafhoppers, and weevils.
Tidy up that tree for us, thanks!
Also close by the Black-and-whites were a few American Redstarts. Harder to get photos of them!
Now that is not a bird I see every day! Must get out with my camera this morning and see what else is in town.