Capturing great video of warblers is challenging because most individuals of most species move around incessantly, often flying to a new perch just before singing each song. The Black-and-White Warbler is no exception, so you can imagine how delighted I was to get the following exciting footage:
This video portrait is constructed of clips I gathered on April 28, 2010, at Land Between the Lakes Kentucky. The high contrast lighting was challenging for my video setup, with the warbler clothed in black and white flying from perch to perch in the sun-dappled understory. My equipment performed admirably—some of my favorite clips depict the bird partly in shadow and partly in sunlight, and the results look natural and pleasing to me!
Black-and-White Warbler Song
The typical song of a male is composed of a series of about seven squeaky 2-part syllables, rapidly delivered: wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see, wee-see. The bird in the video averages closer to nine syllables within each song, which I presume is an individual variation. In some males, the last few syllables vary slightly from those prior.
Male black-and-whites also have more complex alternate songs, which are probably equivalent to what is called the “Type 2″ song of many other warblers. Such songs are typically given during aggressive encounters and possibly at dawn. Here is an example of a three-parted song of a male I recorded years ago in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Note the occasional chip notes, plus the fact that he begins each song with a chip:
Complex, three-parted songs and chips of a male Black-and-White Warbler. Recorded by Lang Elliott near Paul Smiths, New York, May 19, 1989.