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Top 16 Birds With Yellow Bellies (Common Types to Spot)

hooded oriole on a flowery tree

Last Updated: August 26, 2022

There are numerous birds with yellow bellies in the world.

That's why… 

We want to narrow it down to North American birds to make your search exciting but rewarding. Imagine coming back from a birding tour with dozens of pictures of yellow-bellied avians.

It's doable, but you'd need a pair of binoculars to see the bellies up close. Let's find out the kind of species you'll spot.

16 Yellow-Bellied Birds Of North America

Our list might seem a little bit biased because we have many warblers and flycatchers in it. But, they are the most yellow-bellied species.

1. Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher perched on a tree branch

This bird's yellow plumage is excellent camouflage in boreal forests. So, when you go birding, listen for calls that sound like che-lek. You'll have to go to such habitats as the yellow-bellied flycatcher doesn't visit bird feeders. But, they can pass by during the migration to catch insects in native trees.

The nonbreeding population of the yellow-bellied flycatcher lives in Central America, from Mexico to Costa Rica, and the breeding range is in North America.
Why do you think it's only the nonbreeders who live in Central America?

A yellow-bellied flycatcher has yellowish olive plumage, whitish wing bars, and white circles around the eyes. It's between 5.1 and 5.9 inches long.


2. Yellow Breasted Chat Yellow Breasted Chat chirping on the top of the tree

Like the species above, this one also lives in Central America. It winters there while having a breeding and migration range in many states of North America. 

This warbler is larger than many in the family as it's 7.1 inches long with a wingspan of 9.8 inches, only a few inches smaller than a purple martin.

The yellow-breasted chat skulks in dense thickets; therefore, it's elusive. You're likely to spot it during the breeding season as the males show off their songs and calls, plus their prominent olive green feathers on their backs.

To confirm it's a yellow-breasted chat, look for a small bird with bright yellow belly feathers, a long tail, heavy bill, olive-green back, a big head, white eyering, and a gray face.

3. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker eating on suet feeder

It's between 7.1 and 8.7 inches long, so it's larger than a downy woodpecker. The yellow-bellied sapsucker deserves to be on this list even though its belly isn't as striking as that of other birds we'll discuss here. 

It has a yellowish belly, black wings with white patches, and black and white stripes across the face. When flying, the black wings look like they have white spots. Both sexes have red crowns. However, the female bird has a white throat, while the male has a red one.

You'll know there's a yellow-bellied sapsucker in the deciduous forest you're exploring when you see tree barks with a series of shallow holes forming a sap well.

Watch out for such woodpecker activity on birch, sugar maple, hickory, and yellow birch trees.

The yellow-bellied sapsucker breeds in the north and heads south in winter.


4. American Goldfinch American Goldfinch resting on the rock

A male goldfinch has bright yellow chest and black feathers during the breeding season. Its black wings have white markings, and its forehead is black.

There's a resident population in some states, and the breeding range is in Canada.

To see an American goldfinch, explore fields with weeds and overgrowth as there's a generous supply of thistle and aster seeds. It also comes to backyard feeders that offer nyjer and sunflower seeds.

You'll be looking for a bird that's between 4.3 and 5.1 inches long with a wingspan between 7.5 and 8.7 inches. Thus, it's one of the small birds with yellow bellies.


5. Western Meadowlark Western Meadowlark chirping on the top of the tree

Its song is a combination of whistles and warbles. The western meadowlarks have about a dozen songs, and the eastern ones have close to 100 variations. It's so popular that it's the state bird of six states: Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, and Oregon.

A western meadowlark is the body length of an American robin, as it's between 6.3 and 10.2 inches long.

This chunky bird has a long bill, brown streaks on its back like a house sparrow, and yellow underparts. There's a black V stripe running down its bright yellow chest, and the nonbreeding adult has pale yellow underparts.

It's a grassland bird; therefore, expect sightings in fields and meadows where it forages for insects, weeds, and seeds. But, its population is in the western states only, from part of Kentucky and Indiana.


6. Yellow Warbler Yellow Warbler resting on its nest

It breeds in North America and winters in Central and South America.

You can look for this long-distance migrant in forest edges and wetlands. Foraging gives it a variety of insects: bugs, wasps, and beetles.

But, it may also come to say hello in your backyard if your feeder has suet, fruit, or peanut butter.

If it does, look for a round bird that's between 4.7 and 5.1 inches long. A yellow warbler is larger than an American goldfinch but almost the same length as a yellow-rumped warbler. 

It has yellow-green upperparts, a stout bill, and a black eye. The males have brown streaks on the yellow belly.


7. Hooded Oriole Hooded Oriole sipping nectar

This songbird's bill curves downward more than that of other orioles. It's 7.1 to 7.9 inches long and forages in leaves and branches in open woodlands. You may spot it hanging upside down to catch prey.

Hooded orioles breed in the southwestern region, and they are backyard visitors.

A male hooded oriole can have orange or yellow feathers that contrast with black wings. Their bright yellow chests are a pretty sight that complements the black feathers, especially when hit by streaks of the morning sunlight.

A female is paler than a male, and it doesn't have a black throat. Instead, a female hooded oriole has olive-yellow plumage, white wing bars, and a grayish back.


8. Connecticut Warbler Connecticut Warbler perched on the top of the tree

You'll come across several warblers in this article. The Connecticut Warbler skulks, so prepare for a hide-and-seek situation while looking for it in open woods. Its habitat in wintering grounds includes dry woodlands and tropical rainforests. 

Further, the breeding and migration ranges are in a few western states, while the non-breeding population is in South America, from British Columbia to Brazil.

This warbler has a distinct white eyering, a gray hood, yellow underparts, and a pale bill. The plumage of females isn't as bright as that of male birds. Plus, its tail is shorter than that of a mourning warbler.

Lastly, the Connecticut warbler has the same body length as the flycatcher we talked about earlier.


9. Bullocks Oriole Bullocks Oriole perched on the tree branch

Like other orioles, you'll attract it to your backyard if you have a fruit or nectar feeder.

This medium-distance migrant inhabits the western states and Mexico.

You'll tell a male bullock's oriole by its pointed bill, a black line that runs from the eyes to the throat, white wing patch, black back, and bright orange underparts.

The female's plumage is different as it has a grayish back, whitish belly, and a yellowish-orange head. It's larger than the yellow warbler, as its body is 6.7 to 7.5 inches long.


10. Lesser Goldfinch Lesser Goldfinch eating sunflower seeds

It's a small species with a body length between 3.5 and 4.3 inches. Fortunately, it comes to bird feeders for sunflower and nyjer seeds. 

But, if you'd like to see it in a natural habitat, the lesser goldfinch lives in open fields, forest clearings, and parks as long as there are willow, cottonwood, alder, elderberry, and coffeeberry trees.

Its range is the southwest and west coast, though some goldfinches may winter in higher areas.

This songbird has a dark back, pointed wings, and a short bill. A female lesser goldfinch has an olive back and dull underparts.

11. Canada Warbler Canada Warbler perched on the branch

This long-distance migrant is easy to ID because of its white eyering, long tail, gray back, and yellow underbelly. 

You may hear birders calling it the necklaced warbler because of its black stripe across the chest. The female has a faint necklace.

This songbird spends the least time in the breeding grounds up north and heads back to South America to winter there. It inhabits the understory of forests with conifer and deciduous trees.

A Canada Warbler is 4.7 to 5.9 inches long. It makes me wonder; how long are its wing and tail feathers?


12. Western Tanager Western Tanager perched on the branch

We've looked at many birds with yellow, gray, and black plumage, so here's a different one. A breeding male has an orange-red head, black wings with white wing bars, and a yellow body. 

On the other hand, the female songbird has dark wings and a yellowish body.

A western tanager forages for insects, sometimes catching them in the air. Its diet is insects and fruit, so you can offer dried or fresh fruit slices when it shows up at your bird feeder.

This songbird is about 6.3 to 7.5 inches long and inhabits the western states. Wintering grounds are southwards in Mexico and Central America.


13. Evening Grosbeak Evening Grosbeak at a bird feeder

The males have yellow bodies and black wings with a white patch. They also have a yellow stripe above the eyes. Females aren't as colorful, flaunting gray bodies with greenish-yellow feathers on the neck and flanks. An evening grosbeak can grow from 6.3 inches to the size of a yellow-breasted chat. 

When the northern forests aren't bountiful, this songbird's irruption takes it south for winter.

14. Common Yellowthroat Common Yellowthroat singing courtship song in a spring

It's one of the small birds with yellow bellies as it measures between 4.3 and 5.1 inches long.

This songbird has a brownish back and a pale yellow belly. You may also come across the common yellowthroats with olive underparts. The males are slightly different from female birds because of the black mask on their faces.

This bird breeds in Northern America but not as far as Alaska. On top of that, there's a native population in the southern states and the Pacific Southwest.


15. Western Kingbird Western Kingbird flycatcher with a dragon-fly

This medium to long-distance migrant breeds in the western states and migrates south after summer. Some migrate to southern Florida and winter there.

The western kingbird is a flycatcher, so insects make up most of its diet. Sometimes, it looks for fruits of elderberry, hawthorn, and woodbine shrubs.

Sightings of this flycatcher are common in open habitats where you'll see it perched on trees or utility lines. Though it measures 7.9 to 9.4 inches, it's an aggressive species that snaps at larger birds like the American kestrel.


16. Pine Warbler Pine Warbler perched on a branch

This bird with a yellow belly has an olive back, gray wing bars, a yellow throat, and a white lower belly.

It's a small bird measuring 5.1 to 5.5 inches. Can you remember species in this list that have that body length? 

A pine warbler can grow larger than an American goldfinch, common yellowthroat, and yellow warbler.

The northeastern states are its breeding range, and it migrates partially to the southeastern states in winter.

In summary, we've mentioned the ID details of all the birds we've discussed above. Let's look at a few tips to help you ID other birds.


How To Identify Birds

It's disheartening when you see a bird, and you can't tell whether it's a warbler or a sparrow. Imagine going through that when you're a beginner discovering the beauty of avians.

Don't worry. You can be a knowledgeable birder.

Here's what you can do.

Four Keys

The Cornell Lab calls them the four keys to identifying a bird visually: size and shape, behavior, habitat, and color. That's the formula we used in the descriptions above. 

Even if you confuse a bird's color pattern, the habitat tells you which of the two species you know can live there. For instance, you can differentiate a shorebird from a grassland bird.

Practice

It's one thing to have the ID details on a birding journal, and it's a different thing altogether to see a bird and shout its name without consulting your notes. The most convenient place to practice what you learn is in your backyard as you watch your bird feeder

If you get stuck identifying them, take a picture and share it with birders and volunteers on various birding forums. The National Audubon Society is one place that can give you updates on birds sighted in your state. If you'd like to know the endangered species, check Birdlife International.

Listen

Calls and songs are different, and they ID some skulking species fast. One distinct noise is the drumming of woodpeckers as they drill tree barks. You can never forget it.

Listen to the sound of a brilliant adult male Hooded Oriole in this video:

FAQs About Yellow-bellied Birds

What Florida bird has a yellow belly?

There are many birds in this state with such plumage.

One of them is the palm warbler that flaunts yellow underparts, a brownish back, and brown olive wings. You can also spot the yellow-bellied sapsucker and the western kingbird, among others.

What do yellow-bellied flycatchers eat?

These foragers hunt insects like crane flies, flying ants, stoneflies, and mosquitoes. Sometimes, they eat fruits.

Final Thoughts

If you can go birding to see one species of avian, such as woodpeckers or sparrows, you can do it to see species with one color pattern.

One benefit is the chance to see birds across families and genera. You also tour different habitats or host a variety of species in your backyard.

On top of that, you create an excellent collection of bird pictures with yellowish bellies contrasting gray or black upper parts. We've helped you get started.

Before we wrap this up, let's move away from yellow and try to give this a thought: Do you know what bird species has blue-gray wings? Let me just tickle your minds for now.

Now, go and explore!

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