|Conservation status||Has undoubtedly declined in many regions with draining of marshes, and perhaps also in some areas where good habitat still exists. However, still widespread and very common.|
|Habitat||Swamps, marshes, wet thickets, edges. Breeds most abundantly in marshes and other very wet habitats with dense low growth. Also nests in briars, moist brushy places, tangles of rank weeds and shrubbery along streams, and overgrown fields, but is generally scarce in drier places. In migration and winter, still most common in marshes, but also occurs in any kind of brushy or wooded area.|
Forages in marsh and among other dense low growth, searching for insects on surface of plants, sometimes hovering briefly to take insects from foliage. Occasionally makes short flights to catch insects in mid-air, and sometimes forages on ground.
Usually 3-5, sometimes 6. Creamy white with brown and black spots. Incubation is by female only, 12 days. The male feeds the female on the nest during incubation. Very commonly parasitized by cowbirds. Young: Fed by both parents. Leave the nest after 8-10 days. Normally 2 broods per year. Young are dependent on parents for a considerable period, longer than most other warblers.
Fed by both parents. Leave the nest after 8-10 days. Normally 2 broods per year. Young are dependent on parents for a considerable period, longer than most other warblers.
Mostly insects. Feeds mainly on insects, including small grasshoppers, dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies, beetles, grubs, cankerworms and other caterpillars, moths, flies, ants, aphids, leafhoppers, and others; also eats spiders, and a few seeds.
Male displays to female during courtship by flicking wings and tail, following her closely, and performing a flight display: flying up to 25-100' in the air and returning to another low perch, calling and singing. Nest: Prefers to nest low (less than 3' up) on tussocks of briars, weeds, grasses, or shrubs, and among cattails, bulrushes, sedges in marshes. Bulky open cup built by female, sometimes with a partial roof of material loosely attached to the rim. Made of weeds, grass stems, sedges, dead leaves, bark, and ferns; lined with fine grass, bark fibers, and hair.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Download Our Bird Guide App
Migrates mostly at night. In many areas, migration is spread over a long period in both spring and fall.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsLoud, fast witchity-witchity-witchity-witchity-wit or which-is-it, which-is-it, which-is-it. Call a sharp chip.
Learn more about this sound collection.
How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Common Yellowthroat
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Common Yellowthroat
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.