A large (7 inches), strangely-shaped wood warbler, the Yellow-breasted Chat is most easily identified by its large size, olive-green back, yellow breast and throat, and white eye-ring. Other field marks include a long tail, thick bill, and black legs. Male and female Yellow-breasted Chats are similar to one another in all seasons. The Yellow-breasted Chat breeds in the east-central United States and southern Canada from southern Ontario south to northern Florida and west to Texas. This species also breeds more locally in the western United States and Canada, particularly in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah. In winter, most Yellow-breasted Chats migrate south to the southern half of Mexico and Central America, although a small number winter in the southern U.S.Yellow-breasted Chats breed along the edges of deciduous or evergreen forests in areas with thickets or low shrubs. During the winter, this species inhabits similar areas along the edges of tropical forests. Yellow-breasted Chats primarily eat insects and other invertebrates, but may also eat fruits and berries when available, particularly during the winter. Due to this species’ preference for habitat with shrubs and other low vegetation, Yellow-breasted Chats are more often heard than seen. Birdwatchers may listen for this species’ song, a strange jumble of whistling notes interspersed with harsher calls, or may look for it moving through the vegetation while foraging for insect prey. Yellow-breasted Chats are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.
- Eckerle, Kevin P. and Charles F. Thompson. 2001. Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/575
- Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
- eBird Range Map - Yellow-breasted Chat. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ebird.org/ebird/map/yebcha.
- Icteria virens. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Icteria+virens.
- Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/yellow-breasted-chat-icteria-virens.
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