Yellow Birds in Ohio – Picture and ID guide

yellow warbler female

Yellow birds are common in Ohio in spring and summer when the warblers arrive.

In winter, the American Goldfinch is a commonly spotted yellow bird in Ohio. Yellow-rumped Warblers also spend the winter in Ohio.

Eastern Meadowlarks can be spotted all year in Ohio.

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This guide will help you identify yellow birds in Ohio that you have spotted by giving you pictures, identification information and when they migrate in and out.

I have listed these yellow birds in Ohio in order of which are most commonly spotted according to ebird checklists.

So read on to identify those yellow birds you have spotted.

Most Commonly spotted Yellow Birds in Ohio in May and June:
American Goldfinch 45%
Yellow Warbler 42%
Baltimore Oriole Female 39%
Common Yellowthroat 32%
Yellow-rumped Warbler 19%
American redstart female 17%
Great Crested Flycatcher 17%
Cedar Waxwing 14%
Scarlet Tanager female 14%
Black-throated Green Warbler 13%

1. American Goldfinch

American goldfinch male

American Goldfinch are common yellow birds in Ohio all year.

American Goldfinches are popular birds with the males bright yellow and black coloring in spring.  The females are more dull brown, as are males in winter.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

American Goldfinches can be found in most of North America. They breed in Canada and the Mid-West and Canada before migrating to southern states. They remain all year in the rest of the US.

They can be found in weedy fields and overgrown areas foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They are also common in suburbs, parks, and backyards.

To attract more American Goldfinches to your backyard, try planting thistles and milkweed.  They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed. 

2. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler

Yellow Warblers are common yellow birds in Ohio in spring and summer. They arrive in Ohio in late April and May to breed or pass through on their way further north and start to migrate south from mid-August until October.

Yellow Warblers are small bright yellow birds with a yellow-green back, and the males have chestnut streaks on the breast, which are a common sight in summer.

  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Yellow Warblers migrate a long distance to breed over much of North America before heading into Central and northern South America for winter.

They can be seen during migration in the far south.

Yellow Warblers can be found along streams and wetlands in thickets and along the edges of fields foraging for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.

Warblers are hard to attract to your backyard as they are shy and eat mainly insects,  but you can try suet, oranges, and peanut butter. 

3. Baltimore Oriole Female

baltimore oriole

Baltimore Orioles are common yellow birds in Ohio that breed here between May and mid-September before migrating south.

Baltimore Orioles females are yellowish underneath and on the head and grayish-brown on the wings, their backs or brownish-yellow. Adult males are bright orange and black with white wing bars on the black wings.

  • Length: 6.7-7.5 in (17-19 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz (30-40 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.1-11.8 in (23-30 cm)

Breeding in eastern and central North America from April, Baltimore Orioles then migrate to Florida, Central America, and the Caribbean for winter, leaving as early as July. They make incredible hanging bag-like nests woven from fibers.

Baltimore Orioles can be found high up in open woodland, riverbanks, and forest edges foraging for insects and fruit and they often come to parks and backyards. Their diet is fruit and insects.

To attract more Baltimore Orioles to your yard, try oranges cut in half on a platform feeder or hanging from trees. Also, oriole feeders filled with sugar water. 

4. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroats breed in Ohio and arrive from late April and have generally left by mid-October. Some Common Yellowthroats have been spotted in winter here but very rarely.

Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds that are brownish on the back and with bright yellow breasts and with paler yellow bellies and with long tails.  The males have a black mask across the face.  The brightness of the yellow can vary geographically and they may be more olive in parts underneath.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 oz (9-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)

Common Yellowthroats spend the summer breeding over most of North America, except Alaska and northern Canada. Some remain all year along the Gulf Coast and Pacific Southwest.

They can be found in the spring and summer, often in marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields living in thick, tangled vegetation. 

They eat primarily insects and will be found in large backyards that have dense vegetation.

5. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are common during migration in spring and fall in Ohio. They also spend the winter here but are rarely seen during summer as they breed in Canada.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings. Females may be slightly brown and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.

After breeding predominantly in Canada, they migrate in large numbers south across most of the southern and central states and the Pacific Coast and throughout Mexico and Central America. 

  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they eat mostly insects and on migration and in winter, they mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle. 

You can attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.

6. American Redstart Female

Female American redstart

American Redstarts breed in Ohio and arrive in late April and May and leave in September or early October.

Female American Redstarts are olive-gray with bright yellow patches on their sides, wings and tail. Male American Redstarts are black and bright orange birds with a white lower belly. 

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (6-9 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)

They have a vast breeding range across eastern US states and Canada and across to northwestern US states and Canada. They may also be seen during migration in central states.

They can be found in deciduous woodlands eating insects and also in backyards and thickets eating berries such as serviceberry and magnolia.

5. Great Crested Flycatcher


Great Crested Flycatchers migrate into Ohio in late April and May for breeding and have all left by the end of October.

Great Crested Flycatchers are brown on the back with a yellow belly and gray throat. They have reddish flashed in the wing and tail feathers. The crest is not very obvious.

  • Length: 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.4 oz (27-40 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.4 in (34 cm)

Great Crested Flycatchers breed over much of Eastern North America and spend the winter in southern Florida, southern Mexico, and Central America.

They sit perched up high in woodland, waiting for large insects flying, such as butterflies, grasshoppers, moths, wasps, and also spiders. They can be found in mixed woodlands and at the edges of clearings, parks, tree-lined neighborhoods, or perched on fenceposts or other artificial structures.  They will also eat berries and small fruit.

To attract more Great Crested Flycatchers to your backyard, try planting native plants and leaving brush piles to attract insects.  plant berry-producing plants and put up a nest box as they readily take up residence in them. 

8. Cedar Waxwing

cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing remain all year in Ohio, but their numbers increase in the summer when more migrate in for breeding.

Cedar Waxwings are elegant social birds that are pale brown on the head, chest, and crest, which fades to gray on the back and wings and tail.

Their belly is pale yellow and there is bright yellow on the tip. They have a narrow black mask over their eyes and bright red on the wingtips.

  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)

Cedar Waxwings breed in Canada before heading to the southern US for winter. They are resident all year in Northern US states.

They make a high-pitched call and can be found in berry bushes, woodlands, and streams.

To attract Cedar Waxwings to your backyard, plant native trees and shrubs with small fruit such as serviceberry, dogwood, juniper, winterberry, and hawthorn. You can also try fruit on platform feeders.

9. Scarlet Tanager Female

scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) female

Female Scarlet Tanagers are yellow birds in Ohio during the summer from April until October for breeding. They are more common in May when their numbers increase with migrating Scarlet Tanagers passing through.

Scarlet Tanagers are bright red birds with black wings and tails. Females are yellow birds with darker wings and tails.

  • Piranga olivacea
  • Length: 6.3-6.7 in (16-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (23-38 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm)

They breed in eastern forests in summer before migrating to South America.

Scarlet Tanagers can be hard to spot as they stay high in the forest canopy. 

You can attract more Scarlet Tanagers by planting berry plants such as blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, juneberries, serviceberries, mulberries, strawberries and chokeberries.

10. Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green warbler (Setophaga virens)

Black-throated Green Warblers breed in Ohio between May and October and their numbers swell during the spring and fall migration, so May and late September are your best bet to see them here.

A small yellowish-green songbird with a yellow face and head and olive-yellow back. They have black streaking on the sides and wings and are whitish underneath.

  • Length: 4.3-4.7 in (11-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 in (17-20 cm)

Black-throated Green Warblers can mostly be seen during their long migration over the Eastern US up to their breeding grounds in Northeastern US states and Canada.

11. Palm Warbler

palm warbler

Palm Warblers are yellow birds in Ohio during the spring and fall migration when they are migrating to breeding grounds in Canada. A few birds remain in the winter in Ohio.

The palm warbler has a rusty red patch on the top of its head and is a browny-olive color over the rest of its body and yellow on the breast and belly.

  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (7-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.3 in (20-21 cm)

The breed in Canada but can be found in eastern states during the migration and all year along the far south coast and Florida.

Spring and fall is the best time to spot them in weedy fields, forest edges, and scrubby areas. They are often found foraging along the ground for insects, mixed with other birds such as Sparrows, Juncos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

To attract more Palm Warblers to your backyard, try planting native plants that attract insects and bayberry or hawthorn for their berries.

12. Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warblers breed in Ohio, but they are more common during the spring and fall migration.

Although not as distinctive in color as some warblers on the easy to spot list, they are common on low branches, so it’s easier to spot them during migration.

Magnolia Warblers males are black on the back and yellow underneath. They have black streaking from a ‘necklace’ on their necks down over their bellies. Females are grayer on the back and lack the distinctive streaking down the belly.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.5 oz (6-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Magnolia Warblers breed across Canada and Northeastern US states in forests. They can be seen during migration in the Eastern US.

They spend the winter in Central America and the Caribbean.

13. Nashville Warbler

nashville warbler

Nashville Warblers migrate through Ohio in late April and May and again in the fall in September and October.

Nashville Warblers are mostly yellow with a green back and gray head. 

  • 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)

Breeding in northeastern US states and Canada and a smaller population in northwestern Us states and into British Columbia. They can also be seen during migration in most states.

They can be seen in scrubby habitats and low deciduous forests hunting for insects.

14. Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlarks are yellow birds in Ohio all year.

A medium-sized songbird that are bright yellow underneath and pale brown with black marks on the back. They have a distinctive black band across the chest.

  • Length: 7.5-10.2 in (19-26 cm)
  • Weight: 3.2-5.3 oz (90-150 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.8-15.8 in (35-40 cm)

Found all year across eastern US states, they will also breed in the northeast and into Canada before migrating south.

They can be found in grasslands and prairies, eating insects. In winter, they gather in large flocks in fields, looking for seeds.

15. Orchard Oriole Female

orchard oriole female

Orchard Orioles are not around for long in Ohio, so you need to be quick. They visit between May and September.

Orchard Orioles females are greenish-yellow overall, paler underneath and darker on the back, with darker wings and white wingbars. Males look very different with black heads and backs and with reddish undersides.

  • Length: 5.9-7.1 in (15-18 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.0 oz (16-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8 in (25 cm)

Orchard Orioles breed in central and eastern states in summer before migrating south to Mexico and Central America. 

Preferring open woodland, Orchard Orioles can also be found along river banks and open shrubland and farms as well as backyards. They build hanging pouch-like nests.

Their diet is mostly insects such as ants, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and spiders. They will also drink nectar from flowers and eat fruit such as mulberries and chokeberries.

To attract Orchard Orioles to your yard, try hummingbird feeders or platform feeders with cut oranges or mango.  Also, plant native berry plants such as mulberries or chokeberries.

16. Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warblers breed in Ohio and can be spotted between April and October, but they are more common during the spring migration in May.

A warbler that breeds in eastern US states, so more chances to spot them. The males are bright yellow and blue-winged, so a bright contrast to watch for. Streams and wet woodlands are your best bet.

Prothonotary Warblers are bright yellow with blue-gray wings and tails. Females are less bright than males.

Unusual for warblers, Prothonotary Warblers breed in eastern and southeastern states before migrating to Central and South America.

They breed in wet wooded areas that are flooded, near streams, or in swamps. 

Prothonotary Warblers eat spiders, insects and snails. In winter, they will also eat fruit and seeds.

17. Hooded Warbler

Hooded warbler

Hooded Warblers breed in Ohio and can be spotted here between April and November.

Male Hooded Warblers are black and yellow birds. Females lack the black face markings that the males have. 

  • Length: 7.1-7.9 in (18-20 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8 oz (24 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.1-11.0 in (23-28 cm)

They breed in the southwestern US states, making hanging nests on the undersides of palm fronds.

They will come to nectar feeders or use fruit to attract orioles.

18. White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireos can be spotted in Ohio between April and October. Some will stay later and spend the winter here but rarely.

A small songbird in gray and yellow tones. White-eyed Vireos have a gray head, white chest and throat and yellow sides with darker wings and two white wingbars with black streaking.

They have yellow across the eyes and forehead and a white eye.

  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (10-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.7 in (17 cm)

Spending the summer across the southeastern United States, hidden in thickets out of sight. They winter along the southeastern coast, Mexico and the Caribbean.

White-eyed Vireos feed on insects, flies and spiders found in overgrown pastures and brambles.

19. Wilson’s Warbler

wilsons warbler

Wilson’s Warblers migrate through Ohio in May and September.

Wilson’s Warblers are small yellow warblers with a black cap in the males and olive cap in females.

  • Length: 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)

Breeding in Canada, Alaska and northwestern states, Wilson’s Warblers can also be seen across all states during migration. They winter in Mexico and Central America.

To find Wilson’s Warblers look along streams in thickets.

20. Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warblers arrive in Ohio in April and most leave by October, but some stay into the winter as late as November or December.

Yellow-throated Warbler are similar in appearance to the Common Yellowthroat but with black streaks down their sides. The Yellow-throated Warbler has a gray and white body with yellow extending down the throat and chest.

  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)

Yellow-throated Warblers breed across the southeastern states and spend winter in Florida, the Caribbean and along the Gulf Coast into Central America. Some birds may remain resident all year in Florida.

They spend their time at the top of pine trees but may forage lower down during migration.