Thursday, September 15, 2016

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroats love marshes and weedy fields. Adult males are easy to identify. Females and young males are much more difficult. Usually these drab birds show some brown on the crown and yellowish-green tails.

I believe the first photo is of a female bird. It strongly responded when Erika and I made spishing sounds in the Carleton College arboretum on 2 August. The bird appeared to be defending a breeding territory.

I discovered the yellowthroats in the second photo on 16 August at the Dennison Sewage Treatment facility. These two birds are much brighter yellow and appear to show small black flecks on their faces. These field marks add up to immature males.

Common Yellowthroats are common across most of North America, south into Mexico. They were one of the first American species described by European ornithologists. Because of their wide, but somewhat fragmented range, many races of yellowthroats have been recognized. As their genetics are studied, some may prove to be distinct species.

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