Yellow-rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata


Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler in North America has two subspecies, which were once (and may soon again be) considered separate species. The first two pictures show breeding plumage males of both subspecies, Audubon's above, the more common one in the west, and Myrtle below, much more common in the east. The best-known distinction between them is the throat color, yellow in Audubon's, white in Myrtle. However this distinction is not diagnostic, as some Audubon's have white throats. Further distinctions are the distinct eyebrow (supercilium) of the Myrtle, and the shape of the throat patch, which wraps around under the cheek patch (auriculars) in the Myrtle, while in the Audubon's it is confined to the throat. Females, non-breeding, and especially first-winter birds are less bright and contrasty than breeding males in both subspecies. The Yellow-rumped is by far the most common warbler in winter in the Bay Area.


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Yellow-rumped Warbler
Two more breeding plumage males: Myrtle above, in Alaska, Audubon's below, in Arizona.


Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon's,


Yellow-rumped Warbler
Audubon's in non-breeding plumage, above and below.


Yellow-rumped Warbler
The yellow of the Audubon's throat patch can be variably pale in winter, as in the two photos above, and can, as below, be completely absent, the latter most commonly among first-cycle birds. The absence of any eyebrow and the confined size of the throat patch identify the bird below as Audubon's.


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Yellow-rumped Warbler
The white throat patch sweeps around under the cheek patch, and an eyebrow is present, though somewhat indistinct, marking this bird as a non-breeding-plumage Myrtle.


Yellow-rumped Warbler, leucistic
This bird is leucistic, lacking much of its feather pigment, but the yellow in the throat is enough to identify it as Audubon's; note also the complete absence of any eyebrow line. The double-half-moon eye ring is common to both subspecies.


Yellow-rumped Warbler
A breeding-plumage female Audubon's in the Sierras in June, carrying nest-lining material.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
A fluffed-out Audubon's bathing at my backyard fountain; the extensive and bright yellow patches identify it as a male, even in non-breeding plumage.