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Species Guide

Fan-tailed Warbler

Basileuterus lachrymosus

The fan-tailed warbler, scientifically known as Basileuterus lachrymosus, is a charming New World warbler that graces the Pacific slope from northern Mexico to Nicaragua. This small bird, measuring between 5.8-6.3 inches in length, boasts a yellow throat and underparts with a delightful tawny wash across its chest. Its head is adorned with a gray hue, complemented by a black-framed yellow crown and captivating white around the eyes. The undertail coverlets are a pristine white, adding to its distinctive appearance.

Identification Tips

When endeavoring to identify the fan-tailed warbler, look for its yellow underparts and the unique tawny wash on the chest. The head's gray coloration, along with the black-framed yellow crown and the white eye surroundings, are key features. Additionally, the white undertail coverlets are a telltale sign of this species.


The fan-tailed warbler is typically found inhabiting and skirting the edges of evergreen and semideciduous forests, with a particular affinity for areas near ravines.


This species has a range that extends along the Pacific slope from northern Mexico down to Nicaragua. There have been occasional vagrant sightings in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.


The fan-tailed warbler is often observed alone or in pairs, engaging in a hopping motion either on the forest floor or in close proximity to it. This bird is known for its commensal feeding behavior, where it captures prey that has been disturbed by the foraging activities of other animals, such as army ants, other passerines, and nine-banded armadillos.

Song & calls

The fan-tailed warbler serenades the forest with its pleasant, upslurred song, a delightful auditory experience for any birdwatcher.

Diet and Feeding

Ants, particularly army ants, form a significant part of the fan-tailed warbler's diet. The bird's foraging technique involves following swarms of army ants to capture insects that are trying to escape.

Conservation status

The fan-tailed warbler is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers.

Fan-tailed Warbler Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Fan-tailed Warblers on Birda


More New World Warblers

A photo of a Golden-crowned Warbler (Basileuterus culicivorus)

Golden-crowned Warbler

Basileuterus culicivorus
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