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Yellow WarblerWarbler         Yellow Warbler

Identification and Pictures

Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) 

Warblers are small very active birds, about  4 1/2 to 5 1/4 inches, with thin pointed bills in the Passerine family.  There are a quite a few different warblers.  The most wide spread and brightly colored is the Yellow warbler.
Yellow Warbler
The Yellow warble is the most yellow of all the warblers.  The male shown here has red streaks on his breast.  The females and young are not as bright, and if they have streaks they are not as pronounced as the male.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Other common warblers are Yellow-throated warbler, Wilson's, Prairie and Orange-crowned warbler.  One of the easiest ways to tell most warblers apart is with the head pattern.


Yellow-throated Warbler
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Males stand out with a bright yellow throat, and black mask.  Both sexes are brownish below with yellow under tail.

Wilsons Warbler
Wilson's Warbler (Wilson's pusilla)
is yellow with an easily recognizable black cap.
Orange-Crowned Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warblers (Vermivora celata
) are olive-green above, and yellow below, with a small orange crown that often can't be seen.  The female's crown is a brownish color.
Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warblers (Dendroica discolor)
have a yellow head with a dark half circle under the eye, and a dark spot on the neck.  This is a yellow bird with dark streaks on the side. The females look much like the males but are duller.

Sound of Warblers

The song of the Yellow warbler is musical, and sounds like sweet-sweet-sweet, I'm sweet.  Their call sounds like ship or chip.

Wilson's warbler song is quick chatter notes, which lower in pitch near the end.  They have a call that sounds like "chip" with kind of a nasal quality.

The song of the Orange-Crowned warbler is a fast trill like chip-ee, chip-ee, chip-ee, and a fast chip call.

Prairie warbler's sing a buzzy zee zee zee.  Their call sounds like "chip"

Warbler sounds:

Yellow Warbler Song
Yellow Warbler call
Wilson's Warbler

Orange Crowned Warbler
Prairie Warbler

Preferred Habitat

Yellow warblers have a wide range from Alaska across Canada, and the U.S., and into South America.  They like willows, poplars, brushy areas, and thick vegetation near streams, and forests edges, where they forage in the vegetation for small insects.  They are also often seen in shade trees in cities.  When they migrate south in the winter they can be found in open tropical habitats.

Orange-Crowned Warblers inhabit brushy woodlands, and undergrowth.  They like willows, and aspens.  They can be found in Alaska, Canada, and across the U.S.

Wilson's warbler likes areas along woodland streams with low shrubs, and willows.   They can be found in Alaska, Canada, and across the U.S.

Prairie warblers like low shrubs and early growth forests. 

Breeding and Nesting  Yellow Warbler Nest

Female Yellow Warblers usually arrive at the breeding grounds a few days after the males,  and they will bond into pairs. She will build a cup sized nest of grass, stem fibers, and plant down, lined plant down or other soft materials, and may be held together with webbing from caterpillar nests.  It is usually placed in low shrubbery.  Warblers are one many birds that are parasitized by Brown-headed cowbirds. Cowbirds will lay their eggs in the nest of other birds, so the host bird will raise it's young. Warblers will often build one or more new nests on top of a nest with cowbird eggs in it.

Warbler eggTheir eggs can be gray, pink, or greenish white. They are speckled with grayish or purple spots which often form a band around the larger end.

Food & feeding

Insects and spiders are Warbler's main diet however they will visit suet feeders.

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.

To learn about other favorite birds click here.

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