Common YellowthroatGeothlypis trichas

adult male, Interior
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult female, Eastern
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
immature male, Eastern
James M. Wedge/VIREO
immature female
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
adult male, New York
Johann Schumacher/VIREO
adult male, Eastern
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult male, Pacific coastal
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat



4 1/2-6" (11-15 cm). Olive-brown above, bright yellow on throat and upper breast. Male has bold black mask, bordered above with white. Females and young males lack face mask, but may be recognized by bright yellow throat and wren-like behavior.


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


songs #1
chatter call
songs #5
songs #4
flight song #1
excited calling
songs #3
tschat calls
songs #6
songs #2
tschat and teek calls


Moist thickets and grassy marshes.


Breeds from Alaska, Ontario, and Newfoundland south throughout United States. Winters in southern states and in tropics.


A small bird with a yellow throat, skulking in the grass or weeds of a marshy spot, is almost certainly a Common Yellowthroat, whose cheerful song is well known. 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. The bird is the northernmost member of a group of yellowthroat species that occurs as far south as Argentina.


3-5 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.

Similar Species

adult male, Interior West, breeding

Yellow Warbler

4 1/2-5" (11-13 cm). Bright yellow with a light olive green tinge on back. Male has fine rusty streaks on breast. The only largely yellow warbler with yellow spots in the tail (not white).

adult male

Connecticut Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Olive green above, dull yellow below; head, throat, and upper breast gray in males and dull brownish in females. Has conspicuous, unbroken white eye ring. No wing bars.

adult male

Kentucky Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Olive green above, bright yellow below; black forecrown, lores, and sides of throat; bright yellow "spectacles." No wing bars. Sexes similar.

adult male

Mourning Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Similar to Connecticut Warbler: olive above and bright yellow below with a gray hood; no eye ring. Male has black patch below throat; female has gray throat.

adult male

MacGillivray's Warbler

4 3/4-5 1/2" (12-14 cm). Slate gray hood extending to upper breast, where it darkens to black. Olive green above, yellow below; female slightly paler. Both sexes have broken white eye ring.

adult male, Pacific

Orange-crowned Warbler

4 1/2-5 1/2" (11-14 cm). Olive green above with orange crown feathers, which usually remain hidden. Olive-yellow underparts with very faint breast streaking. No eye ring or wing bars.

adult male

Gray-crowned Yellowthroat

L 5 1/2"(14cm) WS 8 1/4"(21cm). Male: Larger then Common Yellowthroat, and with a graduated tail that is longer. Broken eye ring. Black lores and culmen; rest of bill pale.


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