Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Geothlypis trichas
Population size
87 mln
Life Span
10-11 yrs
9-10 g
11-13 cm
15-19 cm

Common yellowthroats are small songbirds that have olive backs, wings and tails, yellow throats and chests, and white bellies. Adult males have black face masks that stretch from the sides of the neck across the eyes and forehead, which are bordered above with white or gray. Females are similar in appearance, but have paler underparts and lack the black mask. Immature birds are similar in appearance to the adult female. First-year males have a faint black mask which darkens completely by spring.


Common yellowthroats breed in North America, ranging from southern Canada to central Mexico. Northern populations winter in the southern parts of the breeding range, Central America and the West Indies. Southern birds are largely resident. Common yellowthroats inhabit marshes and other wet areas with dense low vegetation, and may also be found in other areas with a dense shrub.

Common Yellowthroat habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Common yellowthroats are generally solitary but may forage in mixed-species flocks. They are active during the day and spend most of their time hiding in dense thickets while searching for small insects and spiders. At times they may also catch their prey in midair. Common yellowthroats communicate with a soft 'jip' call and their song is a loud 'twichety twichety twichety twich'.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Common yellowthroats are carnivores (insectivores). They feed mainly on insects but also spiders and sometimes seeds.

Mating Habits

12 days
8-10 days
3-5 eggs

Common yellowthroats are polygynous meaning that one male breeds with more than one female. However, some birds may form serially monogamous pairs that remain together only for one season. Common yellowthroats nest on or near the ground in the grass, reeds, weeds, or low scrubs. Their nest is a bulky cup made with grasses, bark, sedges, rootlets, and even hair. The female constructs the nest in which she then lays 3-5 eggs. Incubation lasts about 12 days and is done by the female only, but both parents feed the young. The chicks hatch helpless and will stay in the nest for about 8-10 days.


Population threats

Common yellowthroats are very common throughout their range. However, populations have declined in many regions due to habitat loss and climate change. These birds are also frequent victims of collisions with windows and communication towers, especially during their nocturnal migrations.

Population number

According to the All About Birds resource the total breeding population size of the Common yellowthroats is 87 million birds. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • There are 13 races of the Common yellowthroat. These races differ mainly in the males' facial patterns and the brightness of the yellow underparts. The southwestern forms of this bird are the brightest and the yellowest below.
  • During the breeding season when males perform courtship displays to attract mates, females appear to prefer males with larger face masks.
  • Common yellowthroats are very secretive about their nests and never fly directly to them; instead, they will stop not too far and then walk to the nest.
  • To avoid the detection of their nest, Common yellowthroats bring food to their chicks by dropping into the thickest vegetation near the nest; they then sneak quietly to the nest, feed their chicks, and leave using another direction.
  • When Common yellowthroats try to chase away an intruder out of their territory, they fly about calling loudly, then hide in dense cover, and again appear performing the same display.


1. Common Yellowthroat on Wikipedia -
2. Common Yellowthroat on The IUCN Red List site -

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