Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The common yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas, breeds in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Northern breeding populations migrate south for the winter to Mexico, Central America, northern South America, the West Indies, and the southern United States. Preferred habitats of the common yellowthroat include marshes, riparian areas, brushy pastures, and old fields.

The diet of this bird is composed almost exclusively of insects and spiders. Breeding begins in late spring. The nest is built by the female just above ground in weeds, cattails, or brier bushes. Typically, four eggs are laid and incubated by the female for eleven to thirteen days. Young are tended by both parents and leave the nest at eight to ten days of age. Pairs usually produce two broods in a year, and males will sometimes mate with more than one female. The common yellowthroat is commonly parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.