It was subsumed into Cardellina in The name is the Latinized version of the Ancient Greek ergatikos, meaning "willing or able to work". The genus contains two sister species : the red warbler , which is endemic to the Mexican highlands north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec , and the pink-headed warbler , which is found south of the Isthmus, from the highlands of Chiapas , Mexico down into Guatemala. Though they are separated by geography and differ considerably in plumage , the two have sometimes been considered to be conspecific. Both are average-sized warblers.
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Taxonomy[ edit ] The subspecies C. English jeweller and naturalist William Bullock and his son travelled to Mexico soon after its independence , spending six months in collecting archeological artifacts and many bird and fish species new to science. Among these was the red warbler, which was assigned to the genus Setophaga , as Setophaga rubra.
In , English naturalists Philip Lutley Sclater and Osbert Salvin moved the species to the genus Ergaticus , where it remained for more than a century.
Despite their disjunct ranges and considerably different plumages, the two have sometimes been considered conspecific. Orr and J. Webster in as Ergaticus ruber rowleyi, in honor of J. Stewart Rowley, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. The genus name Cardellina is the diminutive of the Italian cardella, a regional name for the European goldfinch ,  while its specific name , rubra, is Latin for "red". Its wings and tail are slightly darker, dusky red,  and edged in pinkish-red.
Plumage varies little between the sexes, although the female tends to be a little duller or more orange-tinged. Adult pairs separate and moult fully from August, after the breeding season. Its darker wings and tail show pinkish-cinnamon edges, with two paler wingbars on the former. Its song is a mix of short trills and richer warbles, interspersed with high-pitched chips. It does not sing — and even its calling frequency decreases — in cloudy weather, regardless of season.
Deep incursions result in combat, after which the interloper usually leaves. Beginning in mid-March, the male courts the female by chasing her through the undergrowth. Tightly woven of plant material, the nest is hidden in ground vegetation and anchored to the stalks of surrounding vegetation. Later in the season, this time decreases so that the first egg is laid as soon as the nest is ready. She sits facing the back wall of the nest, with her head and body sheltered by its roof and her tail sticking out the opening.
She sits tight at the approach of danger, typically not flying until a potential predator actually makes contact with the nest. They stay only a few seconds in any one spot, including at the nest, making it more difficult for a predator to locate the young. Nestlings make a rapid, high-pitched peeping call as an adult approaches carrying food. Young birds are fully grown three weeks after fledging, upon which time they are driven off by their parents.
It gleans primarily in understory shrubs at low to middle levels,  moving slowly and deliberately through more open areas of the vegetation,  and feeding with quick jabs into cracks in bark and pine needle clusters. While it seldom associates with mixed-species flocks, it often feeds alongside other birds with no signs of conflict, displaying no hostility towards other species—such as the slate-throated whitestart Myioborus miniatus —with which it competes.
It has been observed chasing off a flycatcher of the genus Empidonax. Its foraging area is quite small, often amounting to only a few dozen square meters several hundred square feet per day. Late in the afternoon, its rate of foraging declines, and it rests, often taking brief naps, in the forest understory. Though it does not generally feed after sunset, it may do so to take advantage of transient food sources, such as hatching Neuroptera.
Researchers Patricia Escalante and John W. Daly isolated two alkaloids in preliminary investigations of the feathers.