31 Types Of YELLOW Birds In Wisconsin (ID Guide With Photos)

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

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

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

Types of yellow birds found in Wisconsin

What types of yellow birds in Wisconsin?

The 31 types of yellow birds found in Wisconsin are:

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

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

Yet other species are winter visitors in Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin 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 suet or 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin as a visitor during spring and fall migration, as it passes through Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin are also called “Myrtle Warblers”.

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

This warbler is a summer visitor and breeding bird in northern Wisconsin, where it can be seen from May through August. And during migration it can be spotted throughout the entire state.

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 encountered breeding in southern Wisconsin during the months of May through August. 

These birds are usually found in dense areas such as thickets, bramble bushes, shrubs, and along streams.

Their diet is mostly small insects, such as moths, beetles, ants, and grasshoppers. They also eat berries such as wild grapes and elderberries.

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 stripe above the eye, as well as a golden mantle, and golden underparts. Females and immatures are mostly buff gray.

The Evening Grosbeak is a breeding bird in northern Wisconsin, and is a winter visitor in the rest of the state during the cold months.

These yellow birds form flocks in winter, and are common visitors at Wisconsin bird feeders from December through February.

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 Wisconsin, 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.

Western Meadowlark

Scientific name: Sturnella neglecta

Photo of Western Meadowlark adult male

The Western Meadowlark closely resembles the Eastern Meadowlark, but is the more common meadowlark in Wisconsin.

Interestingly, although the two meadowlark species closely resemble each other, and their ranges overlap considerably, they almost never form hybrids.

This species is a favorite among birdwatchers, due to the fact that the male likes to sing loudly from a conspicuous perch, or while flying over its territory. 

Combined with its striking black and yellow coloration, this makes the Western Meadowlark a pure joy to observe.

The very distinct songs of the two species of meadowlark allow for easy differentiation between them.

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 northern Wisconsin, where it frequents 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 Wisconsin.

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

The Scarlet Tanager is a summer visitor to Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin.

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

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 widespread breeding bird in Wisconsin during the summer months from April 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.

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 Wisconsin, the Magnolia Warbler may be seen as a breeding species in northern parts of the state 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. 

The Nashville Warbler is found as a breeding bird in northern Wisconsin 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-headed Blackbird

Scientific name: Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Photo of Yellow-headed Blackbird adult male

While Yellow-headed Blackbirds are more common in western North America, Wisconsin is included within the eastern edge of their range.

Adult males stand out thanks to their distinctive bright yellow head and chest, paired with a jet black body.

Females and immatures of this blackbird have more drab coloration and are dark brown rather than black.

Males will often mate with a number of different females during the breeding season, forming small colonies of nests. 

Outside of the breeding season, these 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, these birds breed in lowland areas with wetlands and dense growth of cattails. 

This Wisconsin blackbird is most often observed during migration in fall and spring.

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 throughout Wisconsin.

This yellow bird favors 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 pale yellow and gray bird.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 Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin during the months of May through August.

Related: Blue birds found in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin.

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 Wisconsin.

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

Palm Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga palmarum

Photo of Palm Warbler

Both sexes of the Palm Warbler are quite similar to one another, with the exception that males tend to have a little more vibrant coloration than females.

The upperparts of adults are olive-brown and subtly striped, while the wings are darker overall with two light wingbars. Their underparts are mostly yellow with brown streaks.

These warblers are among the smallest birds in North America, and a great feature for identifying them is their yellow throat and yellow supercilium (eyebrow stripe).

The Palm Warbler breeds in the northern parts of Wisconsin, and passes through the rest of the state during migration in fall and spring. 

Mourning Warbler

Scientific name: Geothlypis philadelphia

Photo of Mourning Warbler adult male

The Mourning Warbler is a colorful ground-dwelling warbler. Adult males have an olive green back, while their underparts are bright yellow.

The head and throat are blue gray, and the chest has a black patch towards the top. Females look similar, but are paler overall.

This warbler is a breeding visitor throughout Wisconsin from June through August, and migrates to Central America to spend the winter.

It favors shrubland and dense thickets, but is very secretive, and hence hard to observe.

Hooded Warbler

Scientific name: Setophaga citrina

Photo of Hooded Warbler adult male

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

Male Hooded Warblers have a black cap and throat, which contrast with its lemon yellow face, while its back is drab olive green.

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

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

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 Wisconsin, where it breeds in deciduous and mixed woodland. It can be seen throughout the rest of Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 a yellow belly.

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 Wisconsin 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 its diet consists of 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 immature birds are paler, and 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 Wisconsin, and is one of the latest migratory birds to arrive in spring, and one of the earliest to leave in fall.

Orchard Oriole (Female)

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 Wisconsin, 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.

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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin birds are yellow and black?

The following 11 types of birds in Wisconsin 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

As you can see, there are many yellow and black birds in Wisconsin.

But by far the most common of these are American Goldfinches, so if you spot a black and yellow bird while bird watching, 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 are the small yellow birds found in Wisconsin?

The most common small yellow birds in the Badger 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 13 types of yellow warblers in Wisconsin, of which the most common one 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 Wisconsin.