The Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) is a New World warbler. It is an abundant breeder in North America, ranging from southern Canada to central Mexico. The genus name Geothlypis is from Ancient Greek geo, “ground,” and thlupis, “an unidentified small bird”; thlypis is often used in the scientific names of New World warblers. The specific trichas is also from Greek; trikhas is a kind of thrush, the word being derived from trikhos, “hair.” [Wikipedia]
Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds that have olive backs, wings and tails, yellow throats and chests, and white bellies. Adult males have black face masks which stretch from the sides of the neck across the eyes and forehead, which are bordered above with white or gray. Females are similar in appearance, but have paler underparts and lack the black mask. Immature birds are similar in appearance to the adult female. First-year males have a faint black mask which darkens completely by spring.
There are 13 races of this bird. These races differ mainly in the males’ facial patterns and the brightness of the yellow underparts. The southwestern forms of this bird are the brightest and the yellowest below. [Wikipedia]
A broad black mask lends a touch of highwayman’s mystique to the male Common Yellowthroat. Look for these furtive, yellow-and-olive warblers skulking through tangled vegetation, often at the edges of marshes and wetlands. Females lack the mask and are much browner, though they usually show a hint of warm yellow at the throat. Yellowthroats are vocal birds, and both their witchety-witchety-witchety songs and distinctive call notes help reveal the presence of this, one of our most numerous warblers. [All About Birds]
Common Yellowthroat Facts [All About Birds]
- The Common Yellowthroat was one of the first bird species to be cataloged from the New World when a specimen from Maryland was described by Linnaeus in 1766.
- Adult Common Yellowthroats sometimes fall prey to carnivorous birds such as Merlins and Loggerhead Shrikes. Occasionally they have more unexpected predators: one migrating yellowthroat was eaten by a Chuck-will’s-widow, while another was found in the stomach of a largemouth bass.
- Each male normally has only one mate in his territory during a breeding season. However, a female’s mating calls often attract other males, and she may mate with them behind her mate’s back.
- The oldest Common Yellowthroat on record was at least 11 years, 6 months old.