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Description of the Common Yellowthroat


The Common Yellowthroat has greenish-brown upperparts and a yellow throat.

Males have a wide, black mask across each cheek and the forehead, with a white line bordering the upperside of the mask.  Length: 15 in.  Wingspan: 7 in.

common yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat m gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Visit the Bent Life History for additional information.


Females have a mostly greenish-brown head with no black or white markings.

common yellowthroat


common yellowthroat f2 gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Seasonal change in appearance

Fall birds are similar to spring birds but have brownish flanks.


Fall immatures are very plain, with males having only partially black cheeks.

common yellowthroat 3jm glPhotograph © Greg Lavaty.


Common Yellowthroats inhabit marshes, swamps, and wet thickets.


Common Yellowthroats eat insects.


Common Yellowthroats forage near the ground in dense vegetation.


Common Yellowthroats breed across much of southern Canada and the U.S. They winter from the southern U.S. south to South America. The population has declined slightly in recent decades.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Common Yellowthroat.

Fun Facts

The Common Yellowthroat female often runs underneath vegetation for some distance when leaving the nest, making nests difficult to locate.

The Common Yellowthroat is one of the most widespread and abundant warblers in North America.


The song is a series of "wichity-witchity-witch" notes.  A hard "chep" call is also given.


Will visit water features.


The Common Yellowthroat’s nest is a cup of leaves, grasses, and moss and is lined with finer materials. It is placed low in weeds or grass.

Number: Usually lay 3-5 eggs.
Color: Whitish with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 12 days and fledge at about 8-10 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.