4 Species of Yellow and Blue Birds

nashville warbler
The most obvious yellow and blue-colored bird is the Prothonotary Warbler, but there are other species that you may have spotted, such as the Blue-winged Warbler.

Most of the yellow and blue birds in North America are warblers, and they migrate and are spotted in the spring and summer, but then they head south into Mexico and South America or the Caribbean for winter.

Check out all of these yellow and blue birds, including photos, when and where to find them, and song recordings to help you identify birds you have spotted

4 Species of Yellow and Blue Birds:

1. Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warblers are bright yellow with blue-gray wings and tails. They are large for Warblers and have thick black beaks, and are white under their tails. Females are less bright than males.

  • Protonotaria citrea
  • Length: 5.1 in (13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.44 oz (12.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.75 in (22 cm)

Prothonotary Warblers breed in eastern US states, and they spend the winter in Mexico and down to northern South America.

You can find Prothonotary Warblers near streams and wet woodlands foraging for spiders, insects, and snails. In winter, they will also eat fruit and seeds.

Prothonotary Warblers song:

Credit: Matt Wistrand, XC565451. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/565451.

Nests of Prothonotary Warblers use abandoned woodpecker nest holes in trees that are near water. Males place moss in the hole, and then the female makes a cup-shaped nest from grass and leaves, and other plant material.

They lay up to seven eggs which take about two weeks to hatch and an additional ten days for the young to leave the nest.

Attract Prothonotary Warblers to your backyard with a nest box if you live near wet areas.

Fun Fact: Prothonotaries are the bright yellow robes worn by members of the Roman Catholic church, and that is how the Prothonotary Warblers got their name.

2. Blue-winged Warbler

Blue Winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warblers are named for the bluish-gray color of their wings. Adults are yellow-green on top, with a black eye line extending from their long bill across the eye, making them look angry. 

Their breast and belly are mostly bright yellow, with females having a slightly paler shade but, more often, indistinguishable from the males. Adults have two white wing bars while juveniles have them too, but they’re so thin, they’re almost invisible.  

  • Vermivora cyanoptera
  • Length: 4.75 inches (12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3 oz (9 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.75 – 7.5 inches (17 – 19 cm)

Blue-winged Warblers breed in eastern US states, except southern states, but they can be spotted here during their migration to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for winter.

You can find Blue-winged warblers in abandoned, brushy fields and pastures, forest edges, and thickets. They usually settle in higher elevation areas with a lot of grass and canopy cover. 

Blue-winged Warblers feed on insects and spiders they find in various plants and trees. They will even hang upside down from tree branches to check under leaves for insect larvae to feed their young. 

Blue-winged Warbler Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC598819. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/598819.

Nests of Blue-winged Warblers are often found on the ground, in thick bushes, or in undergrowth. Nests are cup-shaped and made of dead leaves. The female lays four to seven eggs, taking about 12 days to incubate. 

Fun Fact: Blue-winged Warblers often hybridize with Golden-winged Warblers to produce Brewster’s and Lawrence’s Warblers. 

3. Nashville Warbler

nashville warbler

Nashville Warblers are mostly yellow underneath but with white lower bellies. They have a greenish yellow back and gray head with a white eyering. Females and juveniles are less bright than males.

  • Leiothlypis ruficapilla
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.5 oz (6.7-13.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 in (17-20 cm)

Nashville Warblers breed in northeastern US states and Canada, and there is a smaller population in northwestern US states and into British Columbia. They can also be seen during migration in most US states. They spend the winter mainly in Mexico.

You can find Nashville Warblers in scrubby habitats and low deciduous forests hunting for insects.

Nashville Warbler song:

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC512262. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/512262.

Nests of Nashville Warblers are hidden in shrubs close to the ground. The nest is built from bark, grass, and moss woven into a cup lined with softer material. They lay around four eggs which take about twelve days to hatch and ten days for the young to leave the nest.

Attract Nashville Warblers to your backyard in winter in southern US states with suet.

Fun Fact: Nashville Warbles migrate along the Atlantic Coast in their first year but only migrate inland after that.

4. Tropical kingbird

Tropical Kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus,

Tropical Kingbirds are large flycatchers that are bright yellow underneath and gray on the back. Their wings and tail are gray-brown, and they have a blueish-gray head.

  • Tyrannus melancholicus
  • Length: 7.1-9.1 in (18-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-1.5 oz (32-43 g)

Tropical Kingbirds are usually resident in Central and South America however, they do move north into southern US states for breeding and occasionally on the Pacific Coast of the US.

You can find Tropical Kingbirds in open country with plenty of flying insects. They will also eat fruit and berries.

Tropical Kingbird song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC623969. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/623969.

Nests of Tropical Kingbirds are built high up in trees by the female and are a messy collection of twigs, vines, and grass, into which she lays around three eggs.

Fun Fact: Tropical Kingbirds nest near wasps or blackbirds, which are known to fiercely defend their nests and chase predators away.