4 Birds That Are YELLOW in Alaska! (ID GUIDE)
Did you see a YELLOW bird in Alaska?
I’m guessing you need some help figuring out which species you saw. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Today, we will review 4 types of birds that are YELLOW in Alaska.
To help you make an identification, I have included several photographs of each species and detailed range maps.*
#1. Wilson’s Warbler
- Cardellina pusilla
- Adults are 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm) long and weigh 0.2-0.3 oz (6-8 g).
- Greenish and yellow coloring across the body, with gray-brown wings. Males have a black cap.
The males of this species also have a unique feature that makes them easy to spot. Look for their distinct small and round black cap, resembling a toupee! Females may have dark spots or a greenish wash on their heads, but only the males have the black cap.
Unlike most yellow birds in Alaska, Wilson’s Warblers are more comfortable on the ground or the forest understory. As a result, they’re easier to spot without craning your neck! They often nest on the ground, concealed in shrubs at forest edges.
#2. American Yellow Warbler
- Setophaga petechia
- Adults are 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm) long and weigh 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g).
- Lemon-yellow across the whole body, with light chestnut streaks on the chest. Males are brighter than females.
These bright yellow birds are found all over Alaska.
American Yellow Warblers are frequent victims of brood parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds, that lay their eggs inside the nests of these warblers! But they have a unique way of combating this. They’re known to build a new nest directly on top of their old one, smothering their eggs in addition to the cowbirds’ eggs. As a result, researchers have found nests up to six layers deep!
With its bright yellow coloring and relatively large population, this is one yellow bird you shouldn’t have trouble finding.
#3. Myrtle Warbler
- Setophaga coronata coronata
- Adults are 4.7 to 5.5 inches long and weigh 12 to 13 grams.
- Gray, with white wing bars and black on the chest. Patches on the rump and under the wing are yellow.
Myrtle Warblers, also called Yellow-Rumped Warblers, are named for the bright yellow patch above their tails.
There are two subspecies of this warbler, the Myrtle Warbler, and the Audubon’s Warbler. Only the Myrtle subspecies lives in Alaska.
They are an active species known for catching insects in midair. During winter, they visit feeders with sunflower seeds, raisins, suet, and peanut butter. They also eat winter berries.
Myrtle Warblers are the most versatile foragers of the warblers in Alaska.
They often search for food in trees but will venture to the ground to forage in leaf debris, and they’ve been known to pick through seaweed in coastal areas!
Listen for the Myrtle Warbler’s loud, clear song, which sounds like “tsee-tsee-TSEE-TSEE-tsee.” It starts soft at the beginning, gets louder in the middle, and then ends quietly.
#4. Townsend’s Warbler
- Setophaga townsendi
- Adults are 4.7-5.0 in (12-12.7 cm) long and weigh 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g).
- Black, white, and yellow coloring on both males and females. Their cheek patch is black in males and dark olive in females.
This species is one of the most striking yellow birds in Alaska!
Look for Townsend’s Warblers in mature conifer woods with brushy undergrowth. During the fall migration and over winter, you may attract them to your feeders when the temperature is below freezing. Offer high-energy foods like suet, peanut butter, and mealworms.
What types of yellow birds in Alaska have you seen?
Let us know in the comments!
*The maps are generously provided with permission from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I visit this site often to learn even more about interesting species!