24 Types of Gray and Yellow Birds in North America

Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

Hey there! In this article, I will be introducing you to 24 types of gray and yellow birds found in North America.

These birds are known for their distinctive coloring and can be found across a wide range of habitats, from woodlands to grasslands.

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply curious about the different types of birds in North America, this article is sure to be an interesting read.

So, let’s dive in and learn more about these beautiful gray and yellow feathered friends!

ImageName
Yellow WarblerYellow Warbler
American GoldfinchAmerican Goldfinch
Western Yellow WagtailWestern Yellow Wagtail
Western TanagerWestern Tanager
Prothonotary WarblerProthonotary Warbler
Eurasian gold orioleEurasian gold oriole
Prairie WarblerPrairie Warbler
Yellow-Headed BlackbirdYellow-Headed Blackbird
Cape Named WeaverCape Named Weaver
Eastern MeadowlarkEastern Meadowlark
Yellow-Throated VireoYellow-Throated Vireo
Golden PheasantGolden Pheasant
Western KingbirdWestern Kingbird
Common YellowthroatCommon Yellowthroat
DickcisselDickcissel
Blue-Gray GnatcatcherBlue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern KingbirdEastern Kingbird
Northern MockingbirdNorthern Mockingbird
Northern ParulasNorthern Parulas
BushtitBushtit
Say's PhoebeSay's Phoebe
Gray CatbirdGray Catbird
Loggerhead ShrikeLoggerhead Shrike
Eurasian Collared-DoveEurasian Collared-Dove

Types of Gray and Yellow Birds in North America

1. Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

In the Americas, the Yellow Warbler is far and by the most common species of warbler.

The yellow warbler is native to the New World and is among the most common warbler across the Americas. 

They are the quintessential representation of a yellow bird, having their buttery golden feathers and their lovely, whistling songs throughout the summertime.

Males have black striping on their wings and brown streaking on their chests. 

Canada and the northern United States are home to yellow warblers during the breeding season, whereas Central America, Northern South America, and Mexico are where they spend the winter months. 

You won’t find these insectivorous birds at your bird feeders, but you may discover them in regenerating forests and along waterways.

2. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Typically, the American goldfinch is about five-inch in length.

On any list of golden birds, the American goldfinch must be included.

The males of these little North American finches molt completely from a bright yellow in the summertime to an olive color in the winter season. 

Additionally, they have blackheads, black bodies, and black wings having white spots.

Females have a muted yellow-brown coloration.

People in the northwestern United States tend to remain in their homes all year long. 

Breeding across southern Canada but spending the wintertime in Mexico and the southern USA.

This bird prefers broad floodplains, weedy fields, and thick undergrowth for nesting.

3. Western Yellow Wagtail

Western Yellow Wagtail

A little passerine, the western yellow wagtail, may be found across Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Their feathers are olive on top and yellow on the bottom, and they are tall, thin birds that have long, swaying tails.

The various subspecies also display a wide range of head colors.

These birds have their breeding grounds throughout Europe and western Asia but spend the colder months of the year in southern Asia and Africa. 

The wagtail is most at home in damp areas like muddy lakeshores, grasslands, and marshes.

4. Western Tanager

Western Tanager

The western tanager is a vibrantly colored, medium-sized bird native to North America.

Although it looks like other tanager species, this one really belongs to the cardinal family despite its name.

Male adults are easily identified by their vivid red cheeks, yellow napes, rumps, shoulders, and black backs, tails, and wings.

Females are distinguished by their black wings and tails and golden heads. 

The western tanager overwinters across Mexico and Central America, where it is much less likely to be persecuted than its Asian counterpart, which breeds in Canada and the western United States.

They frequent areas with fir and aspen trees.

5. Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

You may see the prothonotary warbler flitting around in the dark forests of the southern United States.

They are the sole member of their species, the New World warblers, and they are little birds with catchy songs. 

These birds have orangey-yellow beaks and heads, yellow backs and bellies, olive sides, and bluish-gray tails and wings.

Both sexes seem the same, although females possess dull yellow crowns. 

The prothonotary warbler spends its winters across Mexico and Central America, as well as the extreme southern point of South America, where it breeds in the spring. Bottomland woods and forested wetlands, even when flooded, are among their favorite places to live.

6. Eurasian Gold Oriole

Eurasian gold oriole
Credits: Wikipedia

The northern hemisphere’s Eurasian gold oriole is indeed an Old World passerine.

Breeding grounds are across the Palearctic and Europe, while central and southern Africa serve as their wintering grounds in large numbers. 

Forests, orchards, plantations, and gardens are just some of the places you could find them.

The contrast between the males’ brilliant yellow bodies and heads and their black tails and wings and tiny eye masks is startling.

The females have a dull green on top and a pale hue on the bottom.

7. Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler
Credits – All about birds

Despite their name, prairie warblers don’t really call plains home.

These little singers are only found in second-growth thickets and wild fields.

Its breeding grounds are in the southern United States, and its migration route is the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Southern Florida is home to a year-round population. 

The prairie warbler has a varied appearance; its underside is brilliant yellow, but it also has thick dark stripes, black eye markings, and brownish spots on its back.

8. Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Yellow Headed Blackbird

A medium-sized black bird has a bright yellow crown, the yellow-headed blackbird’s common name says it all.

Males are easily identifiable by the vivid yellow on their chests and foreheads, black bodies, and white spots on their wings. 

The females of this species are characterized by their brown feathers and their pale yellow heads.

They migrate south to the Southwest and Mexico for the wintertime. 

Summers are spent in the western and central United States and Canada.

Prairies, marshes, and mountain meadows are excellent locations to see these blackbirds.

9. Cape Named Weaver

Cape Named Weaver
Credits: Wikipedia

The Cape weaver is a stocky passerine bird found only in Southern Africa.

The coastal thickets, open meadows, and farms of Eswatini, South Africa, and Lesotho are home to this rare species. 

Males in mating plumage are olive-brown on top and yellow below.

The females of this species have olive-colored breasts and heads, while their underbellies are a lighter shade of yellow. 

Outside of the mating season, these birds often congregate into large flocks and use communal roosts.

10. Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

Meadowlarks are a family of grassland birds found across the Americas, especially in South America.

The range of the eastern meadowlark extends from the eastern United States to northern South America, whereas that of the western meadowlark spans the central and west regions of the United States. 

Both species are found in grassy environments such as pastures, prairies, and derelict fields.

The eastern subspecies is easily identified by its yellow breast and black “V,” as well as its brown back and black streaks. 

The Western species are almost indistinguishable from the Eastern variety, with the exception of much lighter feathers having thinner black striping.

11. Yellow-Throated Vireo

Yellow-Throated Vireo
Credits: Wikipedia

Small and brightly colored, the yellow-throated vireo may be found across the Americas.

These birds are among the most vibrant in the Vireo family, with a variety of colors on display, from their bright yellow necks and abdomen to their olive-green crowns and slender, white wings. 

Dark irises are framed by brilliant yellow circles in a spectacle-like fashion.

In the summertime, this species is widespread in the eastern part of the United States; in the winter season, it migrates south, spending the colder months throughout Central America, Mexico, and the extreme north part of South America.

12. Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant

These game birds, sometimes known as Chinese pheasants, can only be found in the forested mountains of western China.

The United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, and Canada are just a few of the nations with significant feral populations. 

Foraging in large groups near human settlements in the winter, however, they are more often seen in impenetrable woods throughout the rest of the year. 

The plumage of a golden pheasant is a kaleidoscope of hues, including orange, blue, yellow, green, and red.

Their names come from the yellow crests that sit atop their forehead.

13. Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds

The Western kingbird is a huge tyrant flycatcher with a more muted yellow coloration than the other species on this list.

Their feathers are brown on the wings and back, while their underbellies are bright yellow. 

The western portion of the United States is home to this species during the breeding season, whereas the southern shores of Central America, Mexico, and Florida are where they spend the winter. 

They like to live in open areas with low levels of vegetation, such as desert shrubs, meadows, grasslands, savannas, and pastures.

14. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

The common yellowthroat is easily recognizable in its marsh environment because of its unique black eye band.

The yellow bandits are a name given to New World warblers because of the vivid yellow feathers on their necks and breast. 

Olive-brown on top, with white stripes on the skulls, these creatures are unique.

They overwinter across Mexico and Central America but reproduce all over the U.S. and Canada. 

There are also permanent residents in southern California and the southeastern United States.

The dry and wet plains, woods, and thickets are just some of the places you could see them.

15. Dickcissel

Dickcissel
Credits – Wikipedia

The dickcissel is a small, stocky bunting found in the grasslands of North America.

They possess yellow cheeks and a bright orange beak, and their tails are rather short. 

Brown and gray cover their heads and backs, while their shoulders are a ruddy brown.

In addition, there is a black “V” form at the base of their necks. 

In the summertime, they populate prairies and reestablished grasslands across the central United States, while in the wintertime, they migrate to Central America, Mexico, and the northern regions of South America.

16. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher is the tiniest bird in North America, having a length of about 4.6 inches and a wingspan of around 6.0 inches on average.

Its dark gray wings and back, lighter gray belly, and black tail set it apart.

During the warmer months, males will often flaunt a black “V” on their forehead.

For the most excellent chances of seeing a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, go to the deciduous woods of the East and South in the summer and spring months.

Some winter in Florida, while others go farther south towards Central America and Mexico.

The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher gets all the spiders and insects it needs from its name alone.

Because of this, it may be more challenging to lure them toward your yard than other types of birds.

If you want to boost your chances of luring it, choose natural shrubs and plants that attract insects.

17. Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

The Eastern Kingbird is distinguished by its dark gray back and wings, its white belly, and tail end.

They are members of the Flycatcher family and are very little birds, measuring around 9 inches in dimensions and sporting an average wing span of 15 inches.

Another distinguishing characteristic, a crown of orange-red plumage, is concealed until it is necessary to show hostility or protect its area.

During the summer months, the Eastern Kingbird migrates across the continent to reproduce.

It is a common sight in nearly every state.

No matter where they settle down to raise a family, the woodland edge or a field close to a water source is always their first choice.

Insectivorous diets are typical for species of the Flycatcher family; therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Eastern Kingbird only eats insects.

If you want to lure this bird towards your lawn, plant native flowers and shrubs that also entice insects.

18. Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird, present throughout the year across North America, is famous for its ability to mimic the melodies of as many as 200 different species of birds.

During the autumn and winter, when other birds from the northern states move south, they may be seen in great numbers in the eastern and southern states.

Despite their widespread distribution, garden feeder visits by Northern Mockingbirds are quite rare.

They have trouble using hanging feeders since they prefer to eat food directly from the ground.

However, they may graze on grass and will eat fruit from trees and shrubs, including hawthorns and blackberries.

19. Northern Parulas

Northern Parulas
Credits: All About Birds

Northern Parulas are another example of little birds; they are around 4.7 inches in length and have a wing span of about 7 inches.

It may be small in stature, but it more than tries to make up for its color with a blue-gray back, white wings, and a brilliant yellow neck and chest.

Black and white barring may be seen on its wings, and white patterns can be seen around its eyes and underbelly.

This bright tiny bird may be seen in the canopy of deciduous woodlands.

During the mating season, you should also look out for the Northern Parula’s hanging lichen and moss nests, which may serve as a useful indicator of its location. 

However, the Northern Parula is not a frequent backyard guest since it typically only visits deciduous forests.

Furthermore, it only stays across North America during mating season, spending the rest of the year across Central America and the Caribbean.

20. Bushtit

Bushtit

The Bushtit is a tiny, spherical bird that may be seen year-round across the majority of the Western United States.

Its body is covered with light gray plumage, and its head and face are black.

The Bushtit’s small size makes it a cryptic bird to locate, but you’ll have better luck if you go to an area with many trees.

Nests are made from spider webs and soft plant material and hung from the bottom of branches.

As a whole, their nests are approximately a foot in length, making them much larger than the Bushtit.

The Bushtit is not hesitant to come to your garden bird feeder in exchange for sunflower seeds, mealworms, and suet.

Winter is when you’ll see them most often in gardens since they eat nearly nothing but insects in the summertime.

21. Say’s Phoebe

Says Phoebe

The mating range of the Say’s Phoebe extends from Northwest Alaska and Canada to various Northern States, and the bird then migrates south for the wintertime.

Their heads and upper bodies are a pale grayish, while their breasts and bellies are a somewhat lighter gray.

They average around 6.7 inches in length as well.

The Say’s Phoebe is most at home in arid environments like canyons and badlands.

All of the Flycatcher family members are strict insectivores, living only on beetles, crickets, flies, bees, and any other small flying insects they can capture in midair.

Say’s Phoebes, like other Flycatchers, may be elusive and difficult to entice to backyard feeders.

Though, your chances of luring it in will rise if you plant trees and shrubs that attract insects and if you put up nesting boxes.

If you want to get the most out of them, you should hang them at least 1 to 2 meters above the ground and face them North.

22. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

The whole Gray Catbird’s body is covered in dark gray plumage, and the bird’s distinctive black cap is another telltale feature that helps identify this bird, whose name is fairly humorous.

Its length is around 10 inches, its wingspan is about 11 inches, and it has a rusty red spot beneath its tail.

The origin of the term “Gray Catbird” may puzzle you.

In fact, it doesn’t sing in a beautiful tune as other birds do, but rather with a meowing sound more akin to a cat.

This tune may play for as long as 10 minutes, making it seem like a cat is around the whole time.

The Gray Catbird lives in a wide variety of environments, including hedgerows, woodland borders, parks, and gardens.

Those that live on the Eastern Coast of the United States choose to stay there year-round, while others from throughout North America go south for the wintertime.

Gray Catbirds may be attracted to your yard by providing a platform feeder with dried fruit or by growing fruiting shrubs and trees, such as winterberry and dogwood.

23. Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

The Loggerhead Shrike is a year-round inhabitant of the lower 48 states and may be recognized by its white underbelly, dark grayish upper wings, and black eye mask.

Its length is around 9 inches, its wingspan is about 11.7 inches, and it possesses black patterns on both wings.

The Loggerhead Shrike is easiest to detect in open areas like woodland margins and meadows.

The Loggerhead Shrike stands apart from the rest of the list since it is classified as a bird of prey rather than a songbird. 

Their diet is insects, lizards, rodents, and even little songbirds.

For this reason, they might be a bother at bird feeders if they tend to hunt the tiny birds that come to your garden.

If this is a problem you’ve been having, try not to use your bird feeder for a while.

The Loggerhead Shrike will quickly fly away in search of food, and in no time, your regular avian companions will return to the feeders.

24. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

The Eurasian Collared Dove is among the most widespread gray birds in North America, and its body is completely covered in light gray plumage.

In addition to its black collar that runs vertically across its neck, it bears white spots on its tail.

The Eurasian Collared Dove is around 12 inches in length and possesses a wingspan of about 13.6 inches. 

It’s interesting to note that the Eurasian Collared Dove wasn’t really discovered throughout North America until the 1980s; the bird was originally from Eurasia.

However, it has shown to be quite hardy, and its population has grown dramatically since it was first introduced.

In addition to being one of the most beautiful backyard visitors, the Eurasian Collared Dove is also one of the most simple to lure.

They eat a wide range of foods, including seeds, grains, berries, and insects. 

To attract this stunning bird to your yard, stock your feeders with sunflower seeds, a favorite food of theirs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, North America is home to a wide variety of gray and yellow birds, each with its unique characteristics and beauty.

From the energetic and chatty Yellow Warbler to the strikingly marked Blackburnian Warbler, these birds have captured the hearts and attention of birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

By understanding more about the different types of gray and yellow birds in North America, we can better appreciate the diversity and wonder of our natural world.

So, whether you’re looking to spot these birds in the wild or simply admire their beauty, these feathered friends are sure to delight and inspire.

FAQ

Where can gray and yellow birds be found in North America?

Gray and yellow birds can be found in a variety of habitats across North America, including woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands.

What is the smallest gray and yellow bird in North America?

The smallest gray and yellow bird found in North America is the Wilson’s Warbler, which measures only 4.5 inches in length.

What is the largest gray and yellow bird in North America?

The largest gray and yellow bird found in North America is the Western Tanager, which measures up to 7.5 inches in length.

What do gray and yellow birds eat?

Gray and yellow birds are primarily insectivores and feed on a variety of insects, including caterpillars, beetles, and ants. Some species may also eat fruit and nectar.

Are gray and yellow birds migratory?

Yes, many species of gray and yellow birds are migratory and travel long distances each year between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Can gray and yellow birds be kept as pets?

No, it is illegal to keep most species of wild birds as pets in North America without a proper permit. Keeping wild birds as pets is also not recommended, as it can lead to stress and other health problems for the birds.

How can I attract gray and yellow birds to my backyard?

To attract gray and yellow birds to your backyard, you can provide food and water sources, such as bird feeders and bird baths. Planting native trees and shrubs can also provide habitat and shelter for these birds.

Are gray and yellow birds endangered?

Some species of gray and yellow birds are listed as endangered or threatened due to habitat loss and other factors. It is important to take steps to protect these birds and their habitats to ensure their survival.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.