Picture the most brightly colored bird you can imagine. Can you see what it looks like in your head? Maybe you have a peacock in mind, or even a scarlet macaw. These colorful birds come to life both in our minds and in the wild. Birds rely on their feathers to help them identify members of the same species as well as birds of the opposite sex. In some cases, brightly colored males incorporate their plumage into courtship rituals. These colorful males hope to attract prospective mates by showing off their multi-colored tails and wings. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, from bright pink to dark blue. While some birds have red breasts, there are others that have yellow breasts. Speaking of yellow-breasted birds, can you name any of these birds?
If you can’t, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll introduce you to 8 different species of yellow-breasted birds. We’ll discuss where they live and what they look like, and describe some of their better-known behaviors. Hopefully next time you go for a walk, you’ll spot one of these yellow-breasted beauties. Even if you don’t know it, we’d still love to tell you about these 8 yellow-breasted birds.
#8: Yellow Breasted Chat
Yellow-breasted cats are shy, but like to sing loudly for all to hear.
The Yellow-breasted Bunting belongs to the family of the Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, and it is currently the only member. Although it once belonged to the New World warbler family, scientists now consider it a distinct species. In summer, they breed in southern Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico. They migrate south, wintering in the dense scrublands of southern Mexico and Central America. On average, they are 6.7 to 7.5 inches long, larger than any New World warbler. Yellow-breasted buntings feed primarily on insects and berries, and may use their feet to grab food while feeding. Often shy, you’ll often hear these wary birds’ screeching calls before you see them. They get their name from their bright yellow chest and throat. At the same time, they have an olive-green back and a white belly.
#7: Kingbird by Couch
Couch’s kingbird is often confused with the similar-looking western kingbird.
Kutcher’s Kingbird belongs to the genus Kingbird Tyrannosaurus rex In Tyrannosaurus tyrannosauridae. Named after naturalist Darius N. Couch, these yellow-breasted birds live in fairly confined areas. They live only around the Gulf Coast, as far north as Texas and as far south as Guatemala. Within the region, their preferred habitats include sparsely wooded areas, riparian forests, and urban areas. Typically, they are about 7 inches long, with large heads and forked tails. Like all flycatchers, they primarily eat insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and flies, but will also eat berries and seeds. Their head feathers are light gray and their backs are grayish green. That is, they have bright yellow feathers on their breasts and bellies. Because of their appearance, they are often confused with western kingbirds or more commonly tropical kingbirds, which also have yellow breasts.
#6: Yellow Breasted Fruit Pigeon
Yellow-breasted fruit doves live only in the Philippines, where they are protected by law to prevent their exploitation.
The yellow-breasted fruit pigeon, also known as the barolina, is a member of the pigeon and pigeon family pigeon family. While fruit pigeons are found throughout Southeast Asia and Australasia, these yellow-breasted birds live only in the Philippines. You can usually find them in moist tropical forests located at low elevations. It is a medium-sized species, similar in size to other fruit pigeons, about 9 to 10 inches long. Like other fruit pigeons, the yellow-breasted fruit pigeon’s diet consists mainly of locally available fruits and berries. They are currently protected under Philippine law due to threats from hunting, trapping, and habitat loss. As their name suggests, their breasts are bright yellow. As for the rest of their plumage, they have red and white stripes on their heads, red bellies, green wings, and silver backs and shoulders.
#5: Yellow Belly Juicer
The yellow-bellied sap tree lives in mixed forests in North America and the Caribbean.
The yellow-bellied woodpecker is a member of the woodpecker family Woodpecker family. Depending on the season, you can find these yellow-breasted birds in continental North America and the Caribbean. Their preferred habitats include mixed forests as well as high and low elevation pastures and urban areas. Most specimens are 7.5 to 8.3 inches long and have a wingspan of 13.4 to 15.8 inches. Like other sap suckers, their diet consists of tree sap, which they obtain by drilling holes in trees with their beaks. Additionally, they eat various fruits, nuts, seeds and insects such as beetles and ants. They have dull yellow feathers on their chest and belly, which fade to almost white near the tail. The rest of their plumage is red on the crown and throat, and black and white on the face, wings, tail, and back.
#4: Western Tanager
Western tanagers breed farther north than any other North American tanager.
Despite its name, the western tanager, it is actually a member of the cardinalidae family of cardinals. They are found in the western half of North America, from Alaska in the north to Mexico in the south. You can usually find them in mixed forest environments, parks, orchards, and riparian woodlands. On average, they are 6.3 to 7.5 inches long with a wingspan of about 11.5 inches. Although they also eat fruit, their diet consists mainly of insects such as wasps, ants, caterpillars, and beetles. Like other tanagers, they often catch food in mid-air, but also collect food from tree branches. Males are characterized by red faces, black backs, and bright yellow chests and bellies, hence the name.
#3: Audubon’s Oriole
Audubon’s orioles use their beaks to pry open tree bark to eat the insects inside.
Formerly known as the black-headed oriole, the Audubon oriole is a member of the blackbird family Orioleidae. Although their range is relatively abundant, they only live in southeast Texas and along the coast of Mexico. These yellow-breasted birds are non-migratory and live year-round in dense forests and scrubby riversides. Generally, they are about 7.5 to 9.4 inches long with a wingspan of about 12.6 inches. Their diet consists mostly of insects, which they find by prying open bark and other vegetation with their beaks. Additionally, they eat spiders, fruit and seeds. Audubon’s orioles have unique plumage compared to other orioles. Males have an all-black hood, throat, and tail, and black wings with white fringe. As for their chests, bellies and shoulders, they are almost entirely dark yellow, which is a stark contrast to these birds.
#2: Yellow-breasted Brown Finch
The yellow-breasted brush finch is characterized by striking yellow and black plumage and a red crown.
© iStock.com/Neil Bowman
Also known as the cloud forest finch, the yellow-breasted finch belongs to the New World sparrow family. While not the most famous of the yellow-breasted birds, these South American songbirds are worth keeping an eye on. These burly-looking birds can be found throughout the forests and woodlands of the Andes. In the wild, you can find them in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. The IUCN lists them as a species of least concern due to their fairly common occurrence in their limited range. On average, they are about 6.5 inches long, with rounded bodies and short necks. Their diet consists mainly of insects, but they will also eat seeds, especially in winter. Their thorax and belly are bright yellow, fading to gray as they get closer to the wing edges. Meanwhile, their backs, tails and faces are jet black, while their crests are light brown.
#1: Eurasian Blue Tit
The Eurasian blue tit’s yellow color comes from the abundance of yellow caterpillars in its diet.
The Eurasian blue tit is a member of the blue tit family. These bright blue birds with yellow breasts are found throughout Europe and parts of the Middle East. They are a small species, about 4.7 inches long, with a wingspan of just 7.1 inches. Known for their acrobatic performances, you’ll often find them hanging upside down from branches or speeding through trees. Gardeners love them because their diet includes pests such as aphids, grubs, and moths. They have bright blue crests and dark blue backs, tails and wings. Their faces appear to be mostly white, save for a black stripe across the eyes. Last but not least, their thorax and belly are dark yellow in color. The more yellow caterpillars they eat, the brighter their feathers due to the pigment in their food.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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