33 Types Of YELLOW Birds In Virginia (ID Guide With Photos)

Did you recently come across a yellow bird in Virginia, and want to know what species it was?

Identifying yellow-colored birds in Virginia is not as easy as it might seem, since there are many species of birds in the Old Dominion State that are either entirely or partially yellow.

To help you identify the bird you saw, we’ll cover the most common yellow birds of Virginia in this article.

Types of yellow birds found in Virginia

What are the types of yellow birds in Virginia?

The 33 types of yellow birds found in Virginia are:

  • American Goldfinch
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Canada Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Scarlet Tanager (Female)
  • Summer Tanager (Female)
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Blue-winged Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Hooded Warbler
  • Kentucky Warbler
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • American Redstart (Female)
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Baltimore Oriole (Female)
  • Orchard Oriole (Female)
  • Dickcissel
  • Cedar Waxwing

While many of these birds are found year-round in Virginia, a number of them only occur in the state during the nesting season in summer.

Yet other species are winter visitors in Virginia, and some are vagrants that only rarely occur in the state.

Now let’s dive into the details, and take a closer look at each of these bird species in order to get the full scoop:

American Goldfinch

Scientific name: Spinus tristis

Photo of American Goldfinch adult male

This bird can be found in Virginia all year long but is most active in the summer months. 

The male American Goldfinch is a dazzling, bright yellow color with a black forehead.

Their wings are black and decorated with white markings. The females are a bit quite different though, having a primary olive color and a yellow underside that is a lot duller than the male. 

The American Goldfinch is usually found in weedy fields and floodplains, but can also be found in orchards, roadsides, and backyards.

They generally like to eat seeds and grains, and are readily attracted to bird feeders that offer black oil sunflower seeds.

Yellow Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga petechia

Photo of Yellow Warbler adult male

Also known as the American Yellow Warbler, this songbird lives up to its name.

Adult males have a brilliant yellow color, except for their wings, which are just slightly darker and have two pale wingbars.

They also have reddish stripes on the breast and the sides. Adult females are very similar to the males, but have less streaking and are thus more uniformly yellow.

This yellow bird is present as a breeding species in Virginia from April through August, and spends the rest of the year in Central America and South America.

It favors open habitat with low thickets and scrubland, which makes it easy to observe.

Wilson’s Warbler

Scientific name: Cardellina pusilla

Photo of Wilson's Warbler adult male

Wilson’s Warbler is a small bird with olive colored upperparts and yellowish green underparts. Adult males also have a black crown.

This bird is spotted in Virginia as a visitor during spring and fall migration, as it passes through Virginia from its breeding grounds in Canada to its wintering grounds in Central America.

It prefers damp woodlands with dense shrubs, where it forages for small insects and other invertebrates.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga coronata

Photo of Yellow-rumped Warbler

While the sexes of the Yellow-rumped Warbler are dissimilar, they both have a yellow rump. 

This warbler exists in several variations, and the eastern population that can be found in Virginia are also called “Myrtle Warblers”.

These small Virginia birds have blueish-gray upperparts with dark streaks, as well as a yellow rump and flanks.

This warbler is a summer visitor in Virginia, where it can be seen from May through August.

Common Yellowthroat

Scientific name: Geothlypis trichas

Photo of Common Yellowthroat

The Common Yellowthroat is a brightly colored small warbler. Adult males have a bright yellow throat and chest, as well as a broad black mask that covers the forehead and cheeks.

Their black face mask is bordered on top by a grayish white band, which transitions into the olive brown nape and back. Females are similar, but lack the black face mask.

The Common Yellowthroat is a regular breeding bird in northern Virginia during the summer months from May through August.

It is a migratory bird that spends the winter in the southern United States and Central America. It prefers shrubland and grassy habitats, and feeds on insects and other invertebrates.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Scientific name: Icteria virens

Photo of Yellow-breasted Chat

These birds are between the size of a sparrow and a robin. They are an olive-green color with a bright yellow breast, a gray face, and a distinct white eyebrow stripe.

These chats can be found in Virginia during the months of May through August. 

They can usually be found in dense areas such as thickets, bramble bushes, shrubs, and along streams.

The diet of this bird consists of small insects, such as moths, beetles, ants, and grasshoppers. They also eat berries such as wild grapes and elderberries.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Scientific name: Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Photo of Yellow-headed Blackbird adult male

While Yellow-headed Blackbirds are more common throughout the western United States, they occur in Virginia as scarce vagrants during migration season.

Adult male Yellow-headed Blackbirds stand out thanks to their distinctive yellow heads and chests, paired with a jet black body.

Females and immatures of this blackbird have drab yellow heads and are dark brown rather than black.

Male Yellow-headed Blackbirds will often mate with a number of different females during the breeding season, forming small colonies of nests. 

Outside of the breeding season, Yellow-headed Blackbirds gather into massive flocks, frequently mingling with other species of blackbirds, and feed on leftover grains on farmland.

At this time it is common for this blackbird to forage in fields and spend their winters in open cultivated areas.

During the summer months, they feed mostly on insects and other small invertebrates. 

Typically, Yellow-headed Blackbirds breed in lowland areas with wetlands and dense growth of cattails. 

In Virginia this blackbird is most often observed during migration in fall and spring.

Evening Grosbeak

Scientific name: Coccothraustes vespertinus

Photo of Evening Grosbeak

The Evening Grosbeak is a large finch with a massive bill that makes it easy to recognize.

Adult males have a bright yellow forehead, mantle, and golden underparts. Females and immatures are mostly buff gray.

The Evening Grosbeak is a breeding bird in northern Virginia, and is a visitor in the rest of Virginia during the winter.

These yellow birds form flocks in winter, and are common visitors at Virginia bird feeders in the cold months.

Eastern Meadowlark

Scientific name: Sturnella magna

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark adult male

This colorful bird spends most of its time foraging on the ground.

The Eastern Meadowlark, like other American lark species, has a short tail and a conical beak that is ideally adapted for gathering seeds and insects on the ground.

During the breeding season, the eastern meadowlark is most apparent because the males proclaim their territories by singing from a high perch or while flying over the ground.

Depending on the area, the eastern meadowlark may be a year-round resident or a visitor at certain times of the year. In Virginia, it can be seen year-round.

The upperparts of adult Eastern Meadowlarks are light brown with black markings, while the underparts are brilliant yellow, with a jet black V on the chest.

Eastern Meadowlarks can be difficult to spot, because they forage on the ground, where they are hidden by vegetation.

Grasslands, farm areas, and moist fields are all suitable habitats for Eastern Meadowlarks, as long as they can locate a territory that is large enough to raise a family.

During the summer months, males sing lovely melancholy whistles on exposed perches, particularly fence posts.

Canada Warbler

Scientific name: Cardellina canadensis

Photo of Canada Warbler adult male

The Canada Warbler is a vibrant small songbird that may be found as a breeding bird in Canada and northern states of the eastern USA.

The sexes look different, but both have blue-gray upperparts and bright yellow underparts. Adult males also have a band of dark streaks that divides the throat from the breast.

The Canada Warbler is a breeding bird in Virginia that may be found nesting in woodlands from the month of June through the beginning of August.

It favors damp forests with plenty of undergrowth, and is often found near water. It winters in South America.

Pine Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga pinus

Photo of Pine Warbler

The Pine Warbler is almost always found in the vicinity of pine trees, which explains how it got its name.

Adult males have olive colored upperparts, as well as a yellow head and underparts, except for a white belly. The females are more grayish buff.

During the months of April through September, the Pine Warbler may be encountered nesting in the woods of northern Virginia.

It winters in the southeast USA, and forages in the underground of pine forests, which makes it relatively easy to observe.

Scarlet Tanager (Female)

Scientific name: Piranga olivacea

Photo of Scarlet Tanager adult female

While male Scarlet Tanagers have a tropical appearance, due to their bright scarlet plumage, the female looks like a distinct species, and has an olive yellow body. 

The Scarlet Tanager is a summer visitor to Virginia, and spends its winter in Central and South America.

This bird loves warm temperatures, and thus arrives late in spring, and leaves early in fall. During spring and fall, Scarlet Tanagers from Canada can be seen passing through Virginia.

Both sexes sing a similar song in order to mark and defend their territory from other birds. 

Summer Tanager (Female)

Scientific name: Piranga rubra

Photo of Summer Tanager adult female

The Summer Tanager is a stunningly beautiful songbird of North America.

While adult male Summer Tanagers are entirely bright red Virginia birds, females and immatures are buff yellow, although they sometimes have a few patches of orange. 

It can be hard to observe Summer Tanagers, since they like to forage high in the treetops of deciduous and mixed forests.

The Summer Tanager is a rare summer visitor in southern Virginia, and can be seen here from May through August. 

These birds migrate, and leave Virginia in the fall to spend the cold season in Mexico and Central America.

Magnolia Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga magnolia

Photo of Magnolia Warbler adult male

Adult males of this colorful bird have dark upperparts and bright yellow underparts with a black chest band and dark streaks on the flanks.

The crown is blueish gray, and is separated from the light throat by a black mask. Females look similar, but lack the areas of black plumage.

In Virginia, the Magnolia Warbler may be seen as a breeding species from the end of May through the month of August.

It favors coniferous forests, where it forages for insects and other invertebrates  in the dense undergrowth.

Nashville Warbler

Scientific name: Oreothlypis ruficapilla

Photo of Nashville Warbler

The Nashville Warbler is a beautiful little songbird. Adult males have an olive gray back, a blue gray head, and bright yellow underparts. 

Females and juvenile birds are similar to males, but slightly paler and less colorful. 

Generally speaking, the Nashville Warbler is found as a breeding bird in northern Virginia during the months of May through August.

Similar to many other warblers, it migrates to Central America in order to spend the winter. It favors the tangled undergrowth of mixed forests.

Yellow-throated Vireo

Scientific name: Vireo flavifrons

Photo of Yellow-throated Vireo

The Yellow-throated Vireo is a brightly colored songbird with a thick beak, and a head that is disproportionately large.

Both sexes look similar and have greenish yellow upperparts and face, eyebrow stripe, throat, and breast. Their dark wings have two white wingbars. 

During the months of April through August, this bird may be seen breeding over much of the southern part of Virginia.

This yellow bird favors the edges of dense forests, and is hard to observe as it usually forages in the tree tops. It migrates to Central America to spend the winter.

White-eyed Vireo

Scientific name: Vireo griseus

Photo of White-eyed Vireo

The White-eyed Vireo is a small bird with grayish brown upperparts and pale yellow flanks.The underparts are buff white, and there are two distinctive white wing bars. 

A great feature to identify it by is its pale iris, which distinguishes it from many other similar birds.

The White-eyed Vireo is a summer visitor in southern Virginia. It breeds in deciduous forests, and feeds on insects and other small invertebrates.

Prothonotary Warbler

Scientific name: Protonotaria citrea 

Photo of Prothonotary Warbler

A small yellow bird, the Prothonotary Warbler is a summer visitor in southern Virginia, and spends the winter at the Gulf Coast and in Central and South America.

The male Prothonotary Warbler is a golden yellow color with gray-blue wings and tail, as well as black eyes.

If you were to look at this bird from underneath, you would see its white underside. The females are very similar to the males, but are more often than not slightly paler. 

You’ll usually find Prothonotary Warblers in woodlands near streams and lakes, as well as in wooded swamps.

Their diet mainly consists of snails and insects you’d find in swampy areas.

Blue-winged Warbler

Scientific name: Vermivora cyanoptera

Photo of Blue-winged Warbler

This is a colorful little wood warbler. Adult males can be recognized by their mostly yellow underparts and head, as well as their olive back and nape.

Their blue gray wings have two subtle white wingbars, while the head has a thin black stripe between the eye and the beak.

Adult females look similar, but slightly more drab and less intensely colored. This bird favors clearings and forest edges with young trees.

The Blue-winged Warbler occurs as a breeding bird in southern Virginia during the months of May through August.

Related: Blue birds found in Virginia

Black-throated Green Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga virens

Photo of Black-throated Green Warbler

Similar to the Townsend’s Warbler, the Black-throated Green Warbler is also a colorful little warbler.

Adult males have an olive green back, a bright yellow face and cheeks, and a black throat and chest. The underparts are buff white with dark streaks in the flanks. Females look similar, but don’t have a black throat.

It is a common breeding bird in northern Virginia, where it occurs from May through August. During migration, it can also be observed in other parts of the state.

This yellow bird favors mixed and coniferous forests, and migrates to the Caribbean to spend its winter.

Cape May Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga tigrina

Photo of Cape May Warbler

The Cape May Warbler is a northern species that breeds in eastern Canada, but also occurs in the northern parts of Virginia.

Adult males have a streaked olive green back, white their face is yellow with chestnut cheeks. Their underparts are yellow with dark streaks.

Females look similar, but are less colorful and more grayish in their overall appearance.

During the months of May through August, the Cape May Warbler may be seen nesting in the wooded northern region of Virginia.

During migration, however, it can be seen in southern parts of the state as well. It winters in the Caribbean area.

Yellow-throated Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga dominica

Photo of Yellow-throated Warbler

The Yellow-throated Warbler is easily identifiable by its vibrant yellow throat, which contrasts with black-and-white head markings and a blueish gray back.

While Yellow-throated Warblers rarely visit feeders, you can still attract them to your backyard by planting native shrubs and trees that provide a suitable foraging habitat for these birds.

Yellow-throated Warblers are summer visitors throughout Virginia, where they nest in deciduous woodlands. But they can be hard to observe, since they mostly forage in treetops.

Hooded Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga citrina

Photo of Hooded Warbler adult male

These small yellow birds are summer visitors in Virginia, where they can be seen from May to September.

The Male has a striking black-and-yellow head, while its back is olive green.

Females and immatures are similar to males, but lack the black areas on their head. These birds don’t visit backyard bird feeders, and are most often spotted in backyards during migration.

They prefer forests with dense undergrowth, and winter in Mexico and Central America.

Kentucky Warbler

Scientific name: Geothlypis formosa

Photo of Kentucky Warbler adult male

The Kentucky Warbler is an attractive small songbird with olive-green upperparts and citron yellow underparts.

While males and female adults look largely similar, males are more colorful and females have gray replacing the black elements of their plumage.

Immature females are subtly similar to adult females but have dark olive replacing the dark elements of their head pattern. All Kentucky Warblers have pinkish legs.

They breed in southern Virginia from May to August and spend the rest of the year in Central and South America.

They are hard to observe because they are secretive and live in remote and hard-to-access habitats.

Prairie Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga discolor

Photo of Prairie Warbler

The Prairie Warbler is a beautiful small songbird of young forests and shrubland.

The upperparts of adult males are olive-yellow, with slightly darker wings that feature two pale wingbars.

The yellow belly and throat are a bright shade of lemon yellow, as is their face, except for dark eye stripes. The flanks have dark streaks on them.

Females and juveniles look similar, but have less distinctive streaks on their face and flanks.

This warbler is a widespread summer visitor in southern Virginia, where it occurs from May through August. It winters in Florida and the Caribbean region.

Northern Parula

Scientific name: Setophaga americana

Photo of Northern Parula

The Northern Parula is a colorful wood warbler that has distinct markings on its body.

The upperparts of adult males are mostly blue, and they have a yellowish green patch on the back, in addition to two white wingbars.

One of the most distinctive features of this bird is the bright yellow throat, as well as an orange breast band. 

The eye of the Northern Parula has a partial white eyering, which is a great feature for identification of this little warbler.

It is a common summer visitor in northern Virginia, where it breeds in deciduous and mixed woodland. It can be seen throughout the rest of Virginia during spring and fall migration.

American Redstart (Female)

Scientific name: Setophaga ruticilla

Photo of American Redstart adult female

While male American Redstarts are orange and black, females have yellow plumage replacing the orange parts of the male.

Females also have much less black, and as a result look like pale green birds with bright yellow patches.

This bird is a common bird throughout Virginia from May through August, and favors a wide variety of woodland habitats, as well as backyards.

It migrates to South America to spend the winter months. 

Great Crested Flycatcher

Scientific name: Myiarchus crinitus

Photo of Great Crested Flycatcher

The Great Crested Flycatcher is a slim, long-bodied flycatcher. Adults have a dark brown head and back, as well as yellowish underparts.

The tail is rufous orange, and the crest of this bird is relatively small, and not very useful as a distinguishing feature.

The Great Crested Flycatcher is a common species in Virginia during the summer, and it can be seen throughout the state from April through September. 

It nests in a wide variety of woodland habitats, and feeds on insects as well as berries. Its winter range extends from Central to South America.

Baltimore Oriole (Female)

Scientific name: Icterus galbula

Photo of Baltimore Oriole adult female

The Baltimore Oriole is a wonderful singer that is more frequently heard than seen.

Adult males are very conspicuous due to their flaming orange underside, paired with a completely black head and back, as well as a single white band on their otherwise black wings.

Females and immatures have a more brownish yellow coloration.

Baltimore Orioles are readily attracted to feeders that contain orange halves, grape jelly, or nectar.

And similar to Orchard Orioles, parents bring their recently fledged young to a nearby feeder.

This bird favors open spaces such as yards, parks, and woods, and frequently comes back to the same location year after year.

Keep an eye out for Baltimore Orioles in deciduous forests, but not in dense woods. You may encounter them in places like open forests, forest margins, orchards and even backyards.

Due to the fact that they forage high in trees in search of insects, fruit, and flowers, most orioles are more frequently heard than seen.

The Baltimore Oriole is a summer visitor to Virginia, and is one of the latest migratory birds to arrive in spring, and one of the earliest to leave in fall.

Orchard Oriole

Scientific name: Icterus spurius

Photo of Orchard Oriole adult female

This Oriole got its name from its preference for orchards and open woods. It is a summer visitor in Virginia, and is most commonly found in the southern part of the state.

Unlike the males (which are a combination of black and dark orange), females are mostly yellow.

Young males resemble females in color, and gradually become more and more black over their first two years.

Early in the summer, the Orchard Oriole feeds on insects, but later it will switch to eating wild fruit as they become mature.

After their young have fledged, parent Orioles will bring them to feeding stations (especially if you have a nectar feeder. 

Some people mistakenly believe that the Orioles have departed since they do not see them at their feeders very often during the peak of the summer.

However, the birds are still present nearby, but are simply focused on catching insects to bring back to their nestlings.

The Orchard Oriole is one of the birds that gets here very late in the spring and is one of the ones that leaves quite early in the fall.

Dickcissel

Scientific name: Spiza americana

Photo of Dickcissel

The Dickcissel is a songbird that resembles a sparrow, but has more colorful markings.

The backs of adult males are marked with black stripes of gray-brown and reddish brown, and they also have a yellow gray nape.

They have a bright yellow stripe above the eye, as well as a yellow malar stripe, and a yellow breast. 

Females and juveniles are less colorful, and lack the yellow and black plumage of the males.

It is a visitor in Virginia during migration in fall and spring, as it passes through the state on its way to its wintering grounds to the south, or breeding grounds to the north.

Its preferred habitat are grassland and prairies, and it forms large flocks outside of the breeding season.

Cedar Waxwing

Scientific name: Bombycilla cedrorum

Photo of Cedar Waxwing

Adult Cedar Waxwings have orange buff colors that fade into light yellow on the underparts. There is a crest on the head, as well as a dark mask around the eyes. Both sexes look similar.

This bird is present in Virginia year-round, but during winter its numbers go up due to northern birds that move south during the cold season.

During winter, these birds form small flocks that are nomadic, and wander around in search of areas with plentiful food, such as berry bushes.

What Virginia birds are yellow and black?

The following 12 types of birds in Virginia are yellow and black:

  • American Goldfinch
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • Hooded Warbler
  • Kentucky Warbler

As you can see, there are many yellow and black colored birds in Virginia. But by far the most common of these are American Goldfinches.

So if you spot a yellow and black bird while bird watching in Virginia, this is the first species that you should check for.

If you’re not sure which one of these birds you saw, check out our detailed description and ID photos above.

What small Virginia birds are yellow?

The most common small yellow birds in the Old Dominion State are American Goldfinches, which are widespread breeding birds in both forests and urban areas.

Apart from Goldfinches, the smallest yellow birds in the state are warblers. There are no less than 15 types of yellow-colored warblers in Virginia, of which the most common is the American Yellow Warbler.

If you’re not sure which one of these birds you saw, check out our detailed descriptions and ID photos above.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the raptors of Virginia.

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