Three-species hybrid warbler discovered

Scientists discovered a rare triple-hybrid warbler in Pennsylvania. ©Lowell Burket

Researchers recently discovered that a bird found in Pennsylvania is a hybrid between three different species. The warbler is the offspring of a hybrid warbler mother — a golden-winged (Vermivora chrysoptera) and blue-winged warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera) hybrid — and a father from a completely different genus, a chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica), the researchers found. The three-species hybrid was first brought to scientists’ attention on the citizen science site eBird, where a birdwatcher noticed the unique-looking bird in May 2018 in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania. Scientists did genetic analyses to determine what type of hybridized bird the warbler was. Researchers say this case extremely rare.

Read the study in Biology Letters.