The Warbler Guide

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Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish...

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The Warbler Guide

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Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.

The Warbler Guide revolutionizes birdwatching, making warbler identification easier than ever before. For more information, please see the author videos on the Princeton University Press website.

  • Covers all 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada
  • Visual quick finders help you identify warblers from any angle
  • Song and call finders make identification easy using a few simple questions
  • Uses sonograms to teach a new system of song identification that makes it easier to understand and hear differences between similar species
  • Detailed species accounts show multiple views with diagnostic points, direct comparisons of plumage and vocalizations with similar species, and complete aging and sexing descriptions
  • New aids to identification include song mnemonics and icons for undertail pattern, color impression, habitat, and behavior
  • Includes field exercises, flight shots, general identification strategies, and quizzes
  • A complete, page-by-page audio companion to all of the 1,000-plus songs and calls covered by the book is available for purchase and download from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library by using the link at

Winner of the 2014 National Outdoor Book Award for Nature Guidebooks

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Editorial Reviews

Another Bird Blog - Phil Slade
The Warbler Guide is a fine book crammed with photographs, tips, expert advice, innovation and information designed to help identify a unique and beautiful set of birds.
Fantastic and, yes, ground-breaking. . . . There will be no birder north of the Rio Grande who would turn down this book. There will be few who intend to visit North America that would not want to spend time familiarising themselves with the Wood Warblers, and there is no better way for them than to open these pages and get lost in their cornucopia of detail. . . . Everything from sonograms to seasonal variations, confusion species to aging and sexing and with pretty detailed distribution maps as well. The term 'tour de force' sits well upon its wide shoulders.
Birding is Fun - Robert Mortensen
The Warbler Bible has come forth! This is easily the most comprehensive and fantastic warbler specific guide covering North American Warblers. I am amazed and impressed with each of its features. . . . [A] must-have book.
10,000 Birds - Donna Schulman
A warbler feast for the eyes, the answer to the prayers of every birder who has seen a glimpse of yellow, black, and white and said, 'If only that leaf wasn't in the way, I'd know that warbler's name.'. . . The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, is not just another bird identification book. . . . The authors have thought long and hard about what makes an identification guide work and then approached it their own way. The auditory descriptions of bird song and chips, based on scientific analysis rather than a subjective translation of sound, present a very different approach to identifying birds by ear. The abundance of photographs, the plethora of charts and finding guides, all printed in brilliant color on lovely paper, the clarity of design, make this book a joy to look at and to use.
Avian 101 - H.J. Ruiz
Thoroughly detailed. . . . I'll keep this guide close to me and make my warbler identification a lot more simple. - Eddie Callaway
The Warbler Guide is a must-have book for every birder. It is comprehensive, easy-to-use, and absolutely gorgeous.
Dan Tallman's Bird Blog
Stupendous. . . . Each of the 56 species accounts contain at least a dozen photographs, emphasizing various plumage variations—in all, over 1000 stunning color photos grace the book. . . . One of the unique features of this book is that many of these photos are taken from below, which is how you really see warblers in the field. . . . This relatively inexpensive book will aid birders of all abilities in identifying the warblers of America.
Jerry's Birding/Digiscoping Blog - Jerry Jourdan
The Warbler Guide is Music to My Eyes! . . . By the coming fall migration The Warbler Guide 'will' be considered the ultimate, must-have guide for any birder serious about identifying the 'butterflies of the avian world.'
From the Publisher
"Together with linked, on-line resources, the dedicated reader of this book will learn how to be an expert in interpreting sonograms and this skill naturally will lead to hearing and identifying more birds in the field. This is a book to tuck into your bag as you head outside with your binoculars. This is also a book to read in advance of the spring during the long winter months waiting for the first flush of spring and the first flock of spring warblers to alight in your neighborhood and your consciousness."—Ruth Joy, Journal of Field Ornithology

"This comprehensive book provides just about any view of the 56 North American warblers that you can imagine."Nature Conservancy

Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
Little yellow birds with high-pitched melodies migrate every spring to confound many birders trying to identify them. Avid birders Stephenson (articles in Birder and Bird Watcher's Digest) and Whittle (photographer) pull together every distinguishing characteristic in this guide. The first 100 pages cover generalities of what to look and listen for, while the bulk of the material presents species individually, offering diagrams and bullet points that highlight major distinctions, multiple color photographs with views from every angle, comparison species, aging and sexing, a distribution and migration map, and sonograms for the species and similar sounding nonwarblers—in all, each species is covered in six densely packed pages. The "visual finders" pages may enjoy the book's heaviest use. The "Face Quick Finder," for example, presents side views of the heads of 80 species, displayed across a spread. Similar spreads depict views from other angles, as well as seasonal and geographic distinctions. Some "finders" cover sonograms, graphing songs, and chip and flight calls of various warblers, distinguished by pitch and quality of sound. Those unfamiliar with visualizing sound this way may be aided by comparing audio and sonograms of the same species; The Guide's Song and Call Companion is available for $5.99 at; free audio can be found at The work closes with brief descriptions of similar nonwarblers, hybrid warblers, an eight-photo quiz and review, pictorial and narrative descriptions of various warbler species in flight, a taxonomy tree, a table of measurements, silhouettes, a table of habitat and behavior, a glossary, a list of resources, and an index by common and genus species names. Additional material can be found at, which unfortunately is not the URL listed in the guide. Some will find this title too bulky to carry into the field, but dedicated birders will happily tote it along for the wealth of information contained or buy the ebook. VERDICT This is the book to get for warbler identification. Highly recommended for public libraries with bird-watching patrons and academic libraries with ornithology classes.—Teresa R. Faust, Vermont Dept. of Libs., Berlin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691154824
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/7/2013
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 110,236
  • Product dimensions: 8.62 (w) x 6.26 (h) x 1.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Stephenson’s articles and photos have appeared in Birding and Bird Watcher’s Digest, at, and in the Handbook of the Birds of the World. He has guided groups across the United States and Asia. A musician, he has had several Grammy and Academy Award winners as clients, and was director of technology at Roland Corporation. Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, New Jersey, and has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and is a onetime New York State Big Year record holder.

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Table of Contents

How to Use This Book 6
Icons and Key Terms 8
How to Use the Maps 10
Topographic Tour 12
What to Notice on a Warbler 16
Aging and Sexing Warblers 56
Understanding Sonograms 62
How to Listen to Warbler Songs 68
Learning Chip and Flight Calls 90

Visual Finder Guides 100
Warbler Song Finder Charts 116
Chip Call Finder 130
Flight Call Finder 134

Species Accounts 138
American Redstart Male 138
American Redstart F/1yM 146
Audubon's Bright 476
Audubon's Drab 480
Bay-breasted Bright 150
Bay-breasted Drab 156
Black-and-white 160
Blackburnian Bright 166
Blackburnian Drab 172
Blackpoll Spring 176
Blackpoll Fall 182
Black-throated Blue Male 186
Black-throated Blue Female 192
Black-throated Gray 196
Black-throated Green 202
Blue-winged 208
Brewster's 214
Canada 216
Cape May Bright 222
Cape May Drab 228
Cerulean 232
Chestnut-sided Bright 238
Chestnut-sided Drab 244
Colima 248
Common Yellowthroat AdM 254
Common Yellowthroat F/1yM 260
Connecticut Bright 264
Connecticut Drab 270
Crescent-chested 498
Fan-tailed 500
Golden-cheeked 274
Golden-crowned 502
Golden-winged 280
Grace's 286
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat 504
Hermit 294
Hooded 300
Kentucky 306
Kirtland's 312
Lawrence's 214
Louisiana Waterthrush 318
Lucy's 324
MacGillivray's Bright 330
MacGillivray's Drab 336
Magnolia Bright 340
Magnolia Drab 346
Mourning Bright 350
Mourning Drab 356
Myrtle Bright 476
Myrtle Drab 480
Nashville 360
Northern Parula 366
Northern Waterthrush 372
Olive Warbler 522
Orange-crowned 378
Ovenbird 384
Painted Redstart 390
Palm 396
Pine 402
Prairie 410
Prothonotary 416
Red-faced 422
Rufous-capped 506
Slate-throated 508
Swainson's 428
Tennessee 434
Townsend's 440
Tropical Parula 510
Virginia's 446
Wilson's 452
Worm-eating 460
Yellow 466
Yellow-breasted Chat 520
Yellow-rumped Bright 476
Yellow-rumped Drab 480
Yellow-throated 492
Similar Non-warbler Species 512
Hybrid Warblers 524

Quiz and Review 526
Warblers in Flight 534
North American Warbler Taxonomy 540

Measurements 542
Silhouettes 544
Habitat and Behavior 546

Glossary 549
Resources 555
Acknowledgments 557
Photo Credits 558
Index 559

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013


    Okay. xD

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