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yellow warbler

yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia) [female]
Photo ©

yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia) [male]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

The yellow warbler is four and one-half to five inches in length. Both male and female have yellow feathers on the body, head, eye ring and belly and spots on the black tail feathers. The male has red-brown lines or streaks on its yellow chest feathers. This bird has a small, black bill.

The yellow warbler is a common migrant and summer resident throughout Illinois. It lives along streams and rivers, in woodlands, in parks and in other wooded areas. This bird eats mostly insects and spiders. Its call is "tsee-tsee-tsee-tsee-ti-ti-wee" or "weet weet weet weet tsee tsee." Nesting occurs from May through June. The cuplike nest is built in a low, shrubby tree, like a willow. Three to five eggs are laid. Eggs are white or green with brown markings. The brown-headed cowbird often lays an egg in a yellow warbler nest, leaving its offspring for the warblers to raise. If that happens, the warblers will build a new nest on top of the old one and lay more eggs. Fall migration begins in July.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae

Illinois Status: common, native