What is Dendroica?

Note: the images on this page were highly compressed by blogger's upload feature and are highly grainy and pixelated. I will reupload them at a later date.

So you've stumbled onto my humble blog by name of Dendroica Watch. Some of you as non-birders may ask, what is Dendroica? Some of you as birders may be asking the same thing.

Dendroica refers to a genus of New World warblers, and the term is common in North America where these species are found. But these days less and less birders will recognize the name, for a taxonomic revision in 2011 switched up the taxonomy and many Dendroicas are now called Setophaga instead. At the time of the blog's creation, Dendroica was a term used among birders as often as "gull"!

Hermit warbler, Setophaga (Dendroica) occidentalis

So there is the short history lesson. Even though Dendroica no longer exists and has been rendered obsolete due to new DNA studies in Parulidae, I suppose I will continue its legacy for long to come. The concept behind the removal of the genus Dendroica comes down to the DNA studies in 2011. It was determined that the American redstart, then in its own genus Setophaga, was actually a Dendroica. As Setophaga was named before Dendroica, it took priority and all Dendroicas are now Setophagas. So the name Dendroica will indeed become a name lost in future birding generations.

Magnolia warbler, Setophaga (Dendroica) magnolia
Dendroica comes from Greek meaning "dweller of trees", an appropriate term for all of the species (in turn Setophaga means "moth eater"). There are about 30 species currently known, all in America, though some species have been found lost as vagrants in Europe when strong winds blow them across the Atlantic. Or in some cases, they just get straight-up lost.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the little essay on Dendroica. Enjoy the rest of your stay.
Grace's Warbler, Setophaga (Dendroica) graciae