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Common Yellowthroat - BirdForum Opus

Male, subspecies G. t. arizela
Photo © by digishooter
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, California, USA, 1 March 2009
Geothlypis trichas


Photo © by Terry O'Nolley
Hughes Hollow, Potomac, Maryland, 3 September 2007
  • 11-15 cm (5 ins)
  • Upper parts Olive-brown
  • Throat and upper breast bright yellow
  • Male has bold black mask, bordered above with white.
  • Females and young males lack the face mask, but retain yellow throat. Can be confused with Yellow Warbler: structure (especially bill shape), and often browner colouration help distinguish from this species. Yellow Warbler can show more marked yellow flight feather edgings but this isn't always the case.


Photo © by bhowdy
Kyker Bottom Refuge, Tennessee, USA, 16 August 2008

Breeding Alaska, Ontario, and Newfoundland south throughout United States.
Winters in southern states and in tropics.
Accidental vagrant to Great Britain (5 records).

The bird is the northernmost member of a group of yellowthroat species that occurs as far south as Argentina.


Immature 1st year male
Photo © by tetoneon
New Jersey, USA, 3 October 2014


There are 13 or 14 subspeces1:

Male, subspecies G. t. campicola
Photo © by Darren McKenna
Murray Lake, Alberta, Canada, 23 June 2009

yukonicola is not generally recognised.

Hybridization occurred once with Mourning Warbler.


Male subspecies G. t. sinuosa
Photo © by Aaron Maizlish
Lake Merced, San Francisco, California, 2 November 2012

Moist thickets and grassy marshes, almost anywhere where it is damp or with water.


Rather wren-like.


Three to five white eggs, with brown and black spots, in a loose mass of grass, sedge, and bark, lined with rootlets, hair, and fine grass, and concealed on or near the ground in a dense clump of weeds or grass, in a marshy area.

At the height of the breeding season, the males perform an attractive flight display, mounting into the air while uttering a jumble of high-pitched notes, then bouncing back into the grass while giving the usual song. To foil predators, parents drop down into the thick of the grasses or weeds, secretly approach their well-hidden nest, deliver the food, and depart by another route.


Song: Loud, fast witchity-witchity-witchity-witchity-wit or which-is-it, which-is-it, which-is-it.
Call: a sharp chip.


Recording © by NJLarsen, Carolina Sandhills NWR, South Carolina, USA, 29 April 2023. Note by the recorder: There is a background buzz on the recording sounding similar to a Common Nighthawk, but I am pretty convinced it is an insect making that sound.


  1. Dunn, Jon; Garrett, Kimball. 1997. A Field Guide to Warblers of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 9780395783214
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  3. Guzy, M. J. and G. Ritchison (2020). Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.comyel.01
  4. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2019. All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. https://www.allaboutbirds.org Accessed on 9 May 2020

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