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Black-and-white Warbler
(Mniotilta varia)

Black-and-white WarblerThis visual knockout is the only member of its species. The name Mniotilta means “moss plucking,” which describes this bird’s foraging technique, unique among warblers: it creeps over the bark of a tree, using its curved bill to probe for insects. The black-and-white warbler has extended hind toes and claws which allow it to move up, down, and all around on tree bark, behavior which led to the bird’s original name, “black-and-white creeper.”

This warbler prefers a habitat that includes large trees, as this type of environment offers dead leaves and plant growth low to the ground for foraging and nesting. It especially likes hillsides and swampy areas, both of which exist in the area around the banding station. Overall populations are steady, but local declines have occurred in areas where forest fragmentation is evident.

The distinctive variegation of the feathers is present in both the male and female year-round, providing for an exciting show during breeding season, when courtship rituals include vibrant displays of plumage.

Photo: David Speiser,


Click to return to $100 level or view another level:

Adoptions at the $100 Level include these benefits:

  • Optional e-card for gift recipients (look on confirmation page after purchase)
  • Personalized adoption certificate printed with unique band number, photo of adopted species, and species highlights
  • Replica bird band
  • Invitation to attend a special adopter-only morning at the bird banding station
  • eNews updates about our bird research
  • Three free passes to Carnegie Museum of Natural History; $46 of each $100 adoption is tax-deductible
  • Admission to Powdermill Nature Reserve is always free

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213
One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

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