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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Prothonotary Warbler

Protonotaria citrea ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A brilliant yellow-orange bird of southeastern wooded swamps, the Prothonotary Warbler is a striking sight.

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Appearance

Warblers
Warblers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large warbler, small songbird.
  • Head and chest deep yellow, almost orange.
  • Eyes black. Back greenish.
  • Wings gray and without wingbars.
  • Belly and undertail white.
  • White spots in tail.

Immature Description

Immature like adult, but duller and more greenish on back and head.

Range Map Help

Prothonotary Warbler Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult male

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult male
    • Bright golden-yellow head and breast
    • Blue-gray wings and tail
    • Green shoulders and back
    • Long, pointed black bill
    • Large black eyes
    • © Laura Meyers, NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx, New York, April 2011
  • Adult male

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult male
    • Breeds in tree cavities
    • Solid, golden-yellow head and breast
    • Long, pointed black bill
    • Prominent black eyes
    • © Tim Lenz, Ottawa County, Ohio, June 2010
  • Adult female

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult female
    • Yellow face and breast
    • Dull greenish-yellow crown and back
    • Gray wings
    • White undertail
    • Long, pointed black bill
    • © Danny Bales, Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, Florida, April 2009
  • Adult male

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult male
    • Solid, bright yellow head and underparts
    • Green shoulders and blue-gray wings
    • White undertail
    • Prominent black eyes
    • © Andy Johnson, Magee Marsh, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio, May 2010
  • Adult female

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult female
    • Greenish yellow face and breast
    • Dull olive-green crown and back
    • Gray wings
    • Long black bill
    • © Beth Graham, Parvin State Park, New Jersey, June 2008
  • Adult male

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult male
    • Large white patches on tail-feathers with dark gray tips
    • Golden-yellow underparts
    • Pointed black bill
    • © Greg Page, Eagle Creek, Indiana, April 2009
  • Adult male

    Prothonotary Warbler

    Adult male
    • Solid golden yellow head and underparts
    • Green back and blue-gray wings
    • Black eyes stand out prominently on yellow face
    • © Laura Erickson, Magee Marsh, Ohio, May 2010

Backyard Tips

Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

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eBird Occurrence Maps, Prothonotary Warbler