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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii)



Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), listed as Endangered in Wisconsin, is found in areas at least 30 hectares in size, where scrubby jack pine (2-6m high) is interspersed with many small openings and minimal ground cover. The required avoidance period is May 20 - July 31. Contact the species expert for any activities outside of these dates. See the species guidance document for avoidance measures and management guidance from the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.

State status

Note: Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) was added to the Wisconsin E/T list on January 1, 2014 per administrative rule ER-27-11. Learn more

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Setophaga kirtlandii in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1B
Global RankG3G4
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or an NHI Zoologist for specific recommendations for your site.

This document contains identification and life history information for Kirtland's Warbler. It also describes how to screen projects for potential impacts to this species, lists avoidance measures, and provides general management guidance.

Kirtland's Warbler Species Guidance [PDF]



Kirtland's Warbler

Photo © Dennis Malueg.

Kirtland's Warbler

Photo © Dennis Malueg.

Kirtland's Warbler

Dendroica kitrlandii, Kirtland's Warbler, Michigan.

Photo by  staff, WDNR.

Kirtland's Warbler

Photo © Dennis Malueg.

Kirtland's Warbler

Photo © Lou George.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Kirtland's Warbler. Only natural communities for which Kirtland's Warbler is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Kirtland's Warbler. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Kirtland's Warbler occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, December 22, 2022