Aug 01 2015
The olive warbler (Peucedramus taeniatus) was so hard to classify that he was removed from New World Warblers (Dendroica, now called Setophaga) in 1875 to a genus of his own. This made him the only member of a genus found only in North and Central America.
The genus Peucedramus ranges from Arizona and New Mexico to Nicaragua, precisely where the olive warbler lives.
This level of uniqueness is troubling to biologists. Every animal is descended from others so who were this bird’s ancestors? Doesn’t he belong in some other group?
DNA testing confirmed that he’s not really a warbler but his characteristics are still hard enough to place that arguments continue. He might be a finch or a sparrow or even an Old World Warbler (as are kinglets and gnatcatchers).
But he looks like a warbler and if you want to see him in the U.S. you have to visit where he lives.
Don’t look for him at Cornell Lab’s All About Birds website. He’s not there!
(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)