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Yellow-rumped Warbler


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Yellow-rumped Warblers are impressive in the sheer numbers with which they flood the continent each fall. Shrubs and trees fill with the streaky brown-and-yellow birds and their distinctive, sharp chips. Though the color palette is subdued all winter, you owe it to yourself to seek these birds out on their spring migration or on their breeding grounds. Spring molt brings a transformation, leaving them a dazzling mix of bright yellow, charcoal gray and black, and bold white.


  • Song (Myrtle)
  • Song (Audubon's)
  • Song (Audubon's)
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Males sing a slow, soft, sweetly whistled warble or trill. The pitch is mostly even but may rise or fall slightly, speeding up as it ends. Songs last 1-3 seconds and consist of up to 21 individual notes.


  • Songs, calls
  • Call (Myrtle)
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Yellow-rumped Warblers have two main calls. The more common one, a sharp chek, differs between the myrtle and Audubon's races. Both forms are quite recognizable and are a key call to learn for a bird watcher hoping to start sorting out migrating warblers in fall. Both sexes make this call frequently, both while foraging and while flying. Yellow-rumped Warblers also make a soft psit and a high tsee in flight.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Yellow-rumped Warblers winter across much of central and southeastern U.S., and they sometimes come to backyards if food is offered. To attract them, try putting out sunflower seed, raisins, suet, and peanut butter. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Find This Bird

Visit the north woods or middle elevation conifer forests of the West to find Yellow-rumped Warblers during summer. They're often perched on the outer limbs of trees and are very conspicuous as they fly out after insects, often making long, aerobatic pursuits and flashing their yellow rumps and white patches in the tail. But the easiest time to see Yellow-rumped Warblers is probably on migration, when hordes of Yellow-rumped Warblers sweep down the continent, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard, where wax myrtles are abundant.

Get Involved

Keep track of any Yellow-rumped Warblers that visit your feeder from November through early April with Project FeederWatch

Record your warbler sightings online with eBird for your personal records – and for the birding community

Enhance your yard to attract warblers and other birds. Find out more about creating bird friendly habitat on All About Birds.

You Might Also Like

Species Abundance Map: Yellow-rumped Warbler, The State of North America’s Birds 2016.

Yellow-rumped Warbler from Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds (1953)

Yellow-rumped Warbler: This Bird is Bound to Berry, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, November 15, 1997.

Like Chasing Tornadoes: The Fun And Challenge Of Mixed Species Flocks, Living Bird, Autumn 2014.

The New Birds Of Winter, All About Birds, February 5, 2015.

How To Listen To Bird Song—Tips And Examples From The Warbler Guide, All About Birds, May 1, 2015.

When Does A Songbird Migrate? Depends On What It Eats, All About Birds, October 15, 2015.

Spruce-Woods Warblers Revisited: 60 Years Later, the Cast of Characters Has Changed, Living Bird, Summer 2016.

Why Fly With Extra Weight? Migrating Warblers Use Leftover Fat To Fuel Breeding Season, All About Birds, June 10, 2016.

Goodbye, Yellow-Rump: Will We See A Return To Myrtle And Audubon’s Warblers?, Living Bird, Autumn 2016.



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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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