The Northern Parula is a very small bird. Length is 10.8 to 12.4 cm (4.3 to 4.9 in), wingspan is 16 to 18 cm (6.3 to 7.1 in) and body mass is 5 to 11 g. This species has mainly blue-gray upper parts, with a greenish back patch and two white wing bars. The breast is yellowish shading into the white belly. Summer males have bluish and rufous breast bands and prominent white eye crescents. Females are similar-looking but tend to be duller and lack the breast bands.

Habitat and Distribution

Northern populations breed in mature, moist coniferous forests. Southern populations breed in mature, moist, bottomland forest where Spanish moss is prevalent. During migration and winter Northern Parulas are found in : pastures; moist, dry or wet forests; and agricultural fields or plantations. This species is migratory, wintering in southern Florida, northern Central America, the West Indies and most of the Lesser Antilles.


They forage on terrestrial invertebrates. Prey items includeflies, damselflies, bugs, locusts, ants, grasshoppers, aphids, beetles, wasps, bees. Caterpillars and spiders are eaten mostly.


Breeding begins either in March or May. Northern Parulas nest in trees in clumps of these mosses, laying 3 to 7 eggs in a scantily lined cup nest. Most nests are found suspended.

Calls and Songs

Their song is a click-like trill or buzz, zeeeeee-yip. Their call is a soft chip.