South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Yellow Warbler

Dendroica petechia

Length: 5 inches Wingspan: 8 inches Seasonality: Summer / Migrant
ID Keys: Male yellow body with darker-shaded wings, reddish streaking on underparts

Yellow Warbler - Dendroica petechiaYellow Warblers are one of the most widespread and common warblers in North America.  They are a very common host to cowbird parasitism, Yellow Warblers will often build a new nest floor over the top of cowbird eggs and lay another clutch.  The Yellow Warbler familiar to most in the United States appears as the bird to the right, and represents the migratory form. Additional forms exist in other parts of the Western Hemisphere, and have much more chestnut or rufous color on the head.

Habitat: Woodlands, brush and thickets, orchards, residential areas.

Diet: Mostly insects.  Shows a decided preference for caterpillars.  Occasionally will eat fruits and berries. 

Behavior: Uses a variety of foraging methodologies, including observing from a perch and flying out to capture flying insects (flycatching), climbing through vegetation and gleaning insects from vegetation foliage, or hovering and gleaning insects.

Nesting: May through July

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: Yellow Warbler Song

Migration: Yellow Warblers are neotropical migrants, wintering in Mexico, Central America, and South America.  Non-migratory forms and other forms also exist in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Similar Species: Cape May Warbler, Wilson's Warbler.  Female Yellow Warbler also can be similar to an Orange-crowned Warbler.

Conservation Status: Generally stable and widespread.  Not as susceptible to habitat loss as many other species, due to its preference for woodland edges and second-growth forest.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Yellow Warbler

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Yellow Warbler

3) - Yellow Warbler

Photo Information: May 9th, 2011 - Big Sioux Recreation Area in Brandon, South Dakota -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Yellow Warbler photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Yellow Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant and summer resident throughout the state.