Worm-eating Warbler

The Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus), is a small New World warbler. It is the only species classified in the genus Helmitheros. It is found in dense forests in the eastern United States, usually on wooded slopes. It migrates to southern Mexico and Central America in winter.

It is 5.11 inches long and weighs 0.45 ounces. It is relatively plain with olive-brown upperparts and light-colored underparts, but has black and light brown stripes on its head. It has a slim pointed bill and pink legs. In immature birds, the head stripes are brownish. The male’s song is a short high-pitched trill. This bird’s call is a chip or tseet.

Worm-eating Warblers eat insects, usually searching in dead leaves or bark on trees and shrubs, also picking through dead leaves on the forest floor. Despite their name, they rarely if ever eat earthworms. The nest is an open cup placed on the ground, hidden among dead leaves. The female lays 4 or 5 eggs. Both parents feed the young; they may try to distract predators near the nest by pretending to be injured.

Worm-eating Warblers have disappeared from some parts of their range due to habitat loss. They are vulnerable to nest parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird where forests are fragmented.