Bird GuideWood WarblersYellow-throated Warbler

At a Glance

A clear-voiced singer in the treetops in southern woodlands. Yellow-throated Warblers return very early in spring to the pine woods and cypress swamps, where they may be seen foraging rather deliberately along branches high in the trees. In the Midwest, they are typically found in riverside groves of sycamores. During the winter in Florida and other tropical areas, they are commonly seen creeping about in the crowns of palms, probing among the fronds with their long bills.
Perching Birds, Wood Warblers
Low Concern
Forests and Woodlands, Freshwater Wetlands, Saltwater Wetlands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets
California, Eastern Canada, Florida, Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, New England, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Texas
Direct Flight, Flitter

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

Migrates mostly at night. A very early migrant in spring, reaching many parts of the breeding range in March. Also moves south early, departing many areas during August.


5" (13 cm). Brilliant yellow throat contrasts with white neck spot, black face, black stripes on sides. Gray back, white wing-bars. Grace's Warbler (western) lacks white neck spot.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Black, Gray, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Notched, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

A series of clear ringing notes descending in pitch and increasing in speed, rising abruptly at the end, teeew-teeew-teeew-teeew-tew-tew-twi.
Call Pattern
Falling, Flat, Undulating
Call Type
Chirp/Chip, Whistle


Open woodlands, groves, especially live oaks, pines, sycamores. Breeds in a variety of southern forest types. On southern Atlantic coastal plain, occurs in old live oaks covered with Spanish moss. In south, lives in pine forest and cypress swamps. In Mississippi Valley, also breeds along streams in bottomland woods, especially of sycamores. During winter, often forages in palm groves.



Usually 4, sometimes 5. Dull grayish white, with spots of purple, red and brown. Incubation period is probably 12-13 days. Female incubates, and possibly male does also.


Probably both parents feed nestlings, but details (including age at which the young leave the nest) are not well known. Usually 2 broods per year.

Feeding Behavior

Favorite method of foraging includes much creeping along on branches and leaning trunks. Probes into crevices in bark with its long bill. Also flies out to catch flying insects in mid-air. In winter in the tropics, frequently seen searching for insects by hanging upside down among leaves of palms.


Mostly insects. Feeds on many insects including beetles, moths, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, flies, mosquitoes, ants, scale insects, aphids, and others; also spiders.


Arrives on breeding grounds early in spring, and males defend nesting territory by singing. Nest: Placed in Spanish moss at end of branch. Where Spanish moss does not occur, nest is placed on high branch of pine, sycamore, or cypress, usually 30-60' up, sometimes 4-120' above ground. Nest is an open cup made of grass, moss, bark strips, weeds, caterpillar webs, and lined with plant down and feathers. Built by both sexes, but mostly by female.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Has undoubtedly disappeared from some areas with loss of breeding habitat, but current populations probably stable.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Yellow-throated Warbler. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Yellow-throated Warbler

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.

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