Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Common Yellowthroat

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Geothlypis trichas | [UK] Common Yellowthroat | [FR] Gorge-jaune masque | [DE] Weiden-Gelbkehlchen | [ES] Mascarita Comun | [NL] Gewone Maskerzanger


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Geothlypis trichas NA, MA widespread w SA
Geothlypis trichas arizela
Geothlypis trichas campicola
Geothlypis trichas chapalensis
Geothlypis trichas chryseola
Geothlypis trichas ignota
Geothlypis trichas insperata
Geothlypis trichas melanops
Geothlypis trichas modesta
Geothlypis trichas occidentalis
Geothlypis trichas riparia
Geothlypis trichas scirpicola
Geothlypis trichas sinuosa
Geothlypis trichas trichas
Geothlypis trichas typhicola

Physical charateristics

Close in size to Chiffchaff but with plumper form enhanced by frequent raising of tail. Quite small Nearctic wood warbler; perky but skulks in ground cover. Uniform bright yellowish-olive upperparts and yellow and buff underparts. Male has diagnostic black mask; Female has short dull supercilium and eye-ring. Behaviour recalls both Wren and small Sylvia warbler.

wingspan min.: 16 cm wingspan max.: 18 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 8 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : widespread


Breeds in temperate and subtropical regions of Nearctic in dense low cover in variety of sites, especially near water and in rank vegetation of marshes, such as cattails and bulrushes, and streamside thickets of willows. Despite preference for vicinity of water, occasionally occupies upland thickets of shrubs and small trees, poorly tended orchards, retired croplands, and weedy residential areas.


The female yellowthroat lays her eggs between April and July, and incubates 3-5 eggs for 12 days. The eggs are white or cream-white and are speckled brown, black, or grey at the large end. The cup-shaped, bulky nest made from dead leaves, coarse grass and weed stems, with a lining of fine black rootlets, is located low to the ground, in shrubbery. While only the female incubates the eggs, both the male and female tend the young. The young are altricial and leave the nest 8 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

The yellowthroat is generally an insectivore. It gleans leaves of shrubbery, grasses or weeds for adult and larval insects such as grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, and spiders. Seeds are sometimes eaten as well


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Breeds from south-east Alaska across western and southern Canada to Newfoundland, and southward throughout USA to Oaxaca and Vera Cruz in Mexico.
Accidental. Britain. Single 1st-winter males: Lundy (Devon), November 1954; Isles of Scilly, October 1984; Kent, January-April 1989; male, Fair Isle, June 1984.
Common Yellowthroat status Least Concern


Varies from fully migratory to resident. In east, northern populations winter furthest south, overflying both short-range migrants and residents. Winters in southernmost states of USA, extending north to California in west and Virginia in east, also through Mexico to Panama, and in West Indies. Migration on broad front, including major movements through Florida and across Mexican Gulf.

Distribution map

Common Yellowthroat distribution range map

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