Yellow Birds in Texas – Picture and ID Guide

scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) female

In Texas, yellow birds can be spotted all year as some birds breed here in the summer and some migrate in for the winter.

White-eyed Vireos, Western Meadowlarks and Great Crested Flycatchers are the most common yellow birds in Texas that remain all year.

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

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These are the yellow birds in Texas that are most commonly spotted according to ebird checklists in May and June and November and December.

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

Yellow Birds in Texas in Spring/Summer

  1. White eyed Vireo 19
  2. Western Meadowlark 16
  3. Western Kingbird 15
  4. Scarlet Tanager female 13
  5. Great Crested Flycatcher 11
  6. Lesser Goldfinch 10.5
  7. Yellow Warbler 8
  8. Common Yellowthroat
  9. Orchard Oriole Female 6.9
  10. Eastern Meadowlark 5.92

Yellow Birds in Texas in Winter

  1. Yellow-rumped Warbler 38
  2. Orange-crowned Warbler 24
  3. American Goldfinch 21
  4. Cedar Waxwing 13
  5. Eastern Meadowlark 8
  6. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 7.9
  7. Pine Warbler 7.6
  8. Common Yellowthroat 6
  9. Lesser Goldfinch 5.7
  10. White eyed Vireo 5

1. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers are the most common yellow bird in Texas in winter. They usually arrive in September and October and begin the spring migration north from mid-March.  

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 insects primarily 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.

2. Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange Crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warblers are another winter yellow bird in Texas that starts arriving in September and leaves from mid-February.

Orange-crowned Warblers are not as brightly colored as other warblers with their yellow-olive coloring, which is more yellow on the Pacific Coast. The orange crown is rarely seen.

  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)

Breeding in Canada and western states before migrating to the Pacific, East and Gulf Coasts and Mexico. Orange-crowned Warblers can also be seen during migration across all states.

Orange-crowned Warblers can be found in shrubs and low vegetation and breed in open woodland.

Their diet consists mainly of insects and spiders such as spiders, caterpillars, and flies.  They will also eat fruit, berries, and seeds and regularly visit backyard feeders.

Try suet and peanut butter or hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar to attract more Orange-crowned Warblers to your yard.

3. American Goldfinch

American goldfinch male

American Goldfinch are common yellow birds in Texas in winter. They arrive in September and October and leave in March and April. 

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. 

4. White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireos remain in Texas all year and are common birds to spot here.

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 southeast coast, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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

5. Western Meadowlark

western meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks remain all year in Texas, but their number increase here in the winter.

Western Meadowlarks, with their bright yellow bellies and melodious song, can brighten up your day.  This is probably what makes them so popular, so popular in fact that they are the state bird of 6 states.

Western Meadowlarks are related to blackbirds and are about the size of a Robin with shades of brown and white upperparts and with a black V-shaped band across the bright yellow chest that turns gray in winter.

Breeding in northern UUSnd Canada before moving to more southern states.  Those in the west and midwest remain all year.

Western Meadowlarks can be found foraging for insects and seeds from weeds and seeds, on the ground alone or in small flocks in grasslands, meadows, and fields.

6. Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds are yellow birds of Texas in the summer. They arrive here in April and leave in August and September.

Western Kingbirds are large flycatchers with yellow bellies, whitish chests, gray heads, grayish-brown wings, and a darker tail.

  • Length: 7.9-9.4 in (20-24 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz (37-46 g)
  • Wingspan: 15.0-16.1 in (38-41 cm)

They breed in summer in the western US states, the plains area and into Canada.

They are a familiar sight in summer before migrating to Mexico and Central America. Some may overwinter in the south of Florida.

They live in open habitats and are often found perched on fences and utility lines, waiting for insects to fly by before catching them in mid-flight.

They can often be found near the edge of woodlands so they can nest in the trees and forage in the open. They also nest in human-made structures.

You can attract more Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and planting elderberry or hawthorn, which they will also eat the fruit from.

7. Scarlet Tanager female

scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) female

Scarlet Tanagers can be spotted in Texas during the spring migration in April and May. A few are spotted between September and December but not very frequently.

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.

8. Cedar Waxwing

cedar waxwing

Cedar waxwing are common yellow birds in Texas in winter. A few can be spotted from August, but they mostly arrive in November and stay here until May.

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. However, 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. Great Crested Flycatcher

Great_Crested_Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatchers can be spotted all year in Texas, but they are more common in the summer between April and 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 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. 

10. Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch male

Lesser Goldfinches are common yellow birds in Texas all year.

Lesser Goldfinches are tiny bright yellow and black songbirds with long pointed wings and short notched tails. Females have olive backs and are more dull yellow underneath.

  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-11.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm)

Lesser Goldfinches live in the Southwest and Westcoast all year, but some may move down from higher elevations in winter.

Lesser Goldfinches can be found in large flocks in open habitats, including thickets, weedy fields, forest clearings parks, and gardens. They forage for seeds, especially sunflower seeds, and fruits from elderberry, coffeeberry, and buds from cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and alders.

You can attract more Lesser Goldfinches to your yard with sunflower seeds and nyjer in tube feeders or platform feeders.

11. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler

Yellow Warblers are seen during the migration in spring and fall in Texas. A few remain all year here.

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. 

12. Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlarks are common yellow birds in Texas 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 the 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.

13. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroats are common yellow birds in Texas all year, but their numbers increase during the spring migration and fall and early winter.

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.

14. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

yellow-bellied sapsucker femalefor identification in Michigan MN

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are winter birds in Texas that arrive in September and October and leave from March until May.

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is relatively small and is about the size of a robin.  They are primarily black and white with red foreheads and the male has a red throat. Their bellies are pale yellow with lots of markings.

Length: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)
Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz (43-55 g)
Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in (34-40 cm)

Breeding in Canada and the northeastern US States, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker migrates for winter to southeastern US States, Central America and the Caribbean.

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers make holes in trees and use their brush-tipped tongues to get the sap out. They make neat rows of holes in horizontal rows, so look out for these in young paper birch, yellow birch, red or sugar maple, and hickory trees.

The holes need to be maintained to ensure a flow of sap.  They make a loud mewing call and they nest in tree cavities and usually have 5-6 white eggs.

15. Pine Warbler

pine warbler

Pine Warblers can be spotted in Texas all year.

Pine Warblers are small plump yellow birds with olive backs, yellow throats, chests and upper bellies and white lower bellies, and gray wingbars.  Females can appear browner and have more white on the belly.

  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-15 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

They breed in the Northeastern US States before heading south. However, some remain all year in the Southeastern US States.

Pine Warblers can be found in pine forests, as their name would suggest, often high up in the trees. They eat caterpillars, beetles, spiders, and other insects and larvae and when the weather is colder, they will eat fruit and seeds.

You can attract more Pine Warblers with tube feeders and platform feeders with millet, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and suet.  Also, plant native fruits and vines such as bayberry, grape, sumac, and Virginia creeper.

16. Orchard Oriole Female

orchard oriole female

Orchard Orioles are common in summer in Texas between April and October. Their numbers also increase here during the spring and fall migration.

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 primarily 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.

17. American redstart female

Female American redstart

American Redstarts can be spotted in Texas during migration in spring and fall.

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 the eastern US states and Canada and across to the 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.

18. Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warblers are spotted in Texas in 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.

19. Baltimore Oriole Female

baltimore oriole

Baltimore Orioles are in Texas during the spring and fall migration. A few remain all year here.

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. 

20. Wilson’s Warbler

wilsons warbler

Wilson’s Warblers are yellow birds in Texas for most of the year, except in June and July. 

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.