In this article we’re looking at birds that all have one thing in common, yellow bellies! Yellow is a pretty common color in bird plumage, and yellow bellies are found fairly frequently in species like warblers and flycatchers. Below we’ve put together a list of 20 types of birds with yellow bellies.
20 Birds with Yellow Bellies
1. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- Length: 7.1-8.7 in
- Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
- Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in
Sapsuckers are a type of woodpecker known for drilling rows of small holes in trees to collect sap. Most of their coloring is black and white, and both sexes have a red crown. Only males, however, will have a red throat. Where they get their name is the yellow hue often seen on their breast and belly feathers. Sometimes the yellow can be easy to see, other times their belly may appear so pale that it is nearly white.
Yellow-bellied sapsuckers can be found in the eastern half of North America. They winter in the southeastern states down through Mexico and Central America, then head north to the northeast and Canada to breed in the summer.
Their counterpart in the west, the Red-naped Sapsucker, looks very similar and also sports a yellow tinged underbelly.
2. Great Kiskadee
The Great Kiskadee is a large member of the flycatcher family. Males and females have the same plumage. Their bold black and white head is only matched by the brightness of their yellow chest and belly. Great Kiskadees can fish like kingfishers, but also eat insects, lizards, snakes, small mice and enjoy fruit from trees and cacti. They are fairly loud and not particularly shy of people, so you have a good chance of spotting them in their range.
South Texas is the main spot they can be found in the U.S. However they have a wide range throughout coastal Mexico, Central America and most of South America.
3. Western Kingbird
- Length: 7.9-9.4 in
- Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz
- Wingspan: 15.0-16.1 in
Another member of the flycatcher family with a bright yellow belly is the western kingbird. These kingbirds have a light gray head, olive back, brown wings, and a gray chest that fades into a bright yellow belly. Their main food source is insects, and their preferred habitats are open areas such as pastures, fields, grasslands and savannah.
Western kingbirds are common throughout the western United States during the spring and summer. Look for them perching out in the open on fence posts, power lines, utility poles, trees and shrubs.
4. Cedar Waxwing
- Length: 5.5-6.7 in
- Weight: 1.1 oz
- Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in
Cedar Waxwings are easy to identify by their unique coloring. These birds have a tawny brown head and chest, yellow belly, dark gray wings, and a yellow tipped short tail. Their face sports a dramatic black eye mask rimmed in white, and a large fluffy brown crest. The name “waxwing” comes from small, red, waxy nubs found at the tips of their wings.
Cedar waxwings love to eat fruit. They do supplement their diet with insects and other foods, but they can eat a much higher percentage of fruit than other birds. Find them in Mexico and the southern half of the U.S. during the winter. The northern half of the U.S. is home to cedar waxwings year round, and in Canada you can find them during the spring and summer months.
5. Common Yellowthroat
- Length: 4.3-5.1 in
- Weight: 0.3 oz
- Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 in
Common yellowthroats are one of the most common warblers in the U.S. Males have an 0live-brown back and tail, black face mask, bright yellow throat and belly. Females are similarly colored but lack the black mask, and their yellow may not be as bright. They love brushy fields, and areas around water such as wetlands and marshes.
For most of the U.S., they only spend the breeding season here then migrate south of the border to winter in Mexico. In areas of coastal California and the southeastern U.S. they may remain year-round.
6. Prothonotary Warbler
For warblers, the prothonotary warbler is on the larger side. Both males and females are brightly colored, with sunny yellow chests and bellies. Males have a bright yellow head, while females have more of an olive wash. Their upper back is a greenish yellow and their wings are gray. These warblers are one of only two that build nests in cavities found in dead trees.
Prothonotary warblers are mainly found in the eastern U.S. during the spring and summer. Some make it to the Great Lakes but they are not often seen as far north as New England. The best place to spot them would be swamps and forested wetland areas of the southeastern states.
7. Yellow-breasted Chat
- Length: 7.1 in
- Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz
- Wingspan: 9.8 in
Chats are sized between a sparrow and a robin, with a large head and long tail. Males and females have the same plumage. Their face is notable for their white eye rings connected with a white stripe across the forehead like spectacles, and a white “mustache” stripe. Their lower belly is white, while their upper belly, chest and throat are bright yellow. Male yellow-breasted chats are excelling singers, and can produce a large variety of sounds and songs.
Yellow-breasted chats are widespread across the U.S. during the spring and summer breeding season. They can be hard to find however, since their preferred habitat is dense thickets where they can remain hidden. Inside these thickets they eat insects they pull from the vegetation as well as berries. During the height of the breeding season, males will come out from the shadows and sing from an exposed perch.
8. Evening Grosbeak
- Length: 6.3-7.1 in
- Weight: 1.9-2.6 oz
- Wingspan: 11.8-14.2 in
The beautiful evening grosbeak is a stocky member of the finch family. Males are a colorful mix of a bright yellow body, with a black tail, black wings with a large white patch, and a dark head with bright yellow forehead stripe. Females are mostly a light gray, with black and white wings, and a pale yellow tinge to their chest and belly. Their large beaks allow them to eat a wide variety of seeds. Bird feeders near forested areas, especially open platforms providing seeds, can attract them within their range.
These northern birds can be found year round across Canada, the Pacific northwest and northern New England. They are considered “irregular migrants”, occasionally moving further south into the United States during winters where the evergreen cone supply is lower and they need to find more food.
9. Audubon’s Oriole
- Length: 7.5-9.4 in
- Weight: 1.1-1.9 oz
- Wingspan: 12.6 in
The Audubon’s oriole is native to Mexico and parts of southern Texas, along the Rio Grande. Both males and females have the same plumage, which is unusual for orioles. Their body is lemon yellow, while their head, wings and tail is black. Both sexes also sing songs, especially during the mating season.
These insect eating orioles live in the open woodlands common to these areas. They prefer to glean insects off of leaves and branches in the thickets of tropical and semitropical forests. Despite their bright color, they blend in easily with thick foliage.
10. Hooded Warbler
- Length: 5.1 in
- Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
- Wingspan: 6.9 in
Both male and female hooded warblers sport bright yellow bellies, and greenish-yellow backs. Males have a black head with a large yellow section around the eyes. Imagine a yellow bird that pulled a ski-mask over its head. Females heads are mostly yellow, and some may show a bit of darkening on the crown. Each male sings a slightly different song, and can recognize the song of neighboring males both by sound and location. Researchers hypothesize this may help them avoid territory squabbles.
They don’t visit bird feeders, but you may still spot them stopping over in your yard during their spring or fall migration. They travel from their wintering grounds along the eastern coast of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, to their breeding grounds in the eastern U.S., from the mid-Atlantic states down to the Gulf of Mexico.
11. Western Tanager
- Length: 6.3-7.5 in
- Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz
It’s hard to mistake a male western tanager. They have a bright orange face, and their bright yellow belly, chest and back stand out next to black wings. Females are usually duller in color and may appear more of an olive yellow with gray wings, and they do not have orange on their face. They are common in the woods, especially among conifer forests, eating mostly insects which they carefully pluck from foliage at the tops of trees.
During the fall and winter they eat a lot of fruit. You can try attracting them to your yard by putting out fresh oranges, and they may even occasionally visit a hummingbird feeder. The western tanager winters in Mexico, then migrates north to spend summers in the western U.S., British Columbia and Alberta.
12. Yellow Warbler
- Length: 4.7-5.1 in
- Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
- Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in
Aptly named, the yellow warbler is yellow not only on their belly, but all over. Their chest and head tends to be brighter while their back can be more of a darker, olive yellow. Males have some reddish-brown streaking on their chest. Their preferred habitat is thickets and small trees near wetlands or streams.
They are common warblers across most of the United States during the spring and summer, with the exception of the far southern states where they just pass through during migration. Yellow warblers are considered one of the most commonly heard warblers, so keep your ears open during the spring while walking near streams or wet woods.
13. American Goldfinch
- Length: 4.3-5.1 in
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz
- Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in
During the spring breeding period, American goldfinches have a mostly bright yellow body and orange beak. Their wings and tail are black with varying levels of white bars. Males sport a black cap on top of their heads. However later in the season, in preparation for winter, they will molt and their bright yellow fades out to a more dull brownish or olive tone. Even their orange beak turns dark. But you can recognize them any time of year by the black on their wings, and their finch-like beaks.
American goldfinches are year-round residents for most of the eastern and northwestern U.S. For the rest of the country they may be winter visitors. Goldfinches will eat sunflower chips but love thistle feeders. A thistle feeder is one of your best bets to attract them.
14. Williamson’s Sapsucker
- Length: 8.3-9.8 in
- Weight: 1.6-1.9 oz
- Wingspan: 17 inches
Like other sapsuckers, Williamson’s sapsucker feeds primarily on the sap of coniferous trees, extracting it by drilling sap-wells. Males and females look very different. Males have solid black backs, a white wing patch, two white stripes on the face, bright yellow bellies and a touch of red on the chin. Females also sport a yellow belly, but have brown heads with heavy black and white barring on their back and wings. Because sapsuckers are often clinging to the side of trees, it can be quite hard to spot their yellow belly pressed up against the bark.
Uncommon in backyards, Williamson’s sapsuckers are primarily found in mountainous forests. They roost in natural or excavated cavities and prefer nesting in a larger, older trees. Williamson’s sapsuckers are only found in a specific habitat pockets in the states of the western U.S. Some remain year round, but most travel to Mexico in the winter.
15. Nashville Warbler
- Length: 4.3-5.1 in
- Weight: 0.2-0.5 oz
- Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 in
Most of the plumage of a Nashville warbler is a vibrant yellow, except for their head which is a pale gray. They have white circles around their eyes. Females are quite similar to males, but not quite as vibrant. Based on their name you may think they are common in Tennessee, but they actually only pass through the state during migration. They were first spotted and officially recognized in Nashville in 1811, which is how they got their name.
Nashville warblers can be seen throughout most of the U.S. during spring and fall migration. However they only stick around to breed for the summer in the northeast, and northwest. They like brushy, semi-open habitat, and are comfortable in regrowing forests. Interestingly, these warblers have been seen using porcupine quills in their nests!
16. Eastern / Western Meadowlark
- Length: 6.3-10.2 in
- Weight: 3.1-4.1 oz
- Wingspan: 16.1 in
Meadowlarks are members of the blackbird family, but certainly are not drably colored! The eastern and western meadowlark are two separate species, however they look so similar I’m including them both here. Adult meadowlarks have brown speckled backs, and a bright yellow belly and throat separated with a black chest patch. Meadowlarks can be found across the U.S. with the Mississippi River being about the dividing line between the east and west species.
Find meadowlarks in open grasslands, meadows, pastures, and along the edges of roads and marshes. During the breeding season, males will perch on fence posts and other open areas to sing their whistling song. In the winter they may join other flocks of birds that like to forage in open fields, such as blackbirds and starlings.
17. Scott’s Oriole
- Length: 9.1 in
- Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz
- Wingspan: 12.6 in
Males Scott’s orioles have a black head, chest and back, with a brilliant yellow belly, shoulders, and tail. They can be heard singing practically around the clock. When the male sings, the female will often answer, even if she’s sitting on her nest. Females are an olive-yellow all over with grayish back and wings.
If you live in the Southwest, it’s possible that you might see a Scott’s oriole foraging for insects and berries among the yucca and juniper present in the area. This oriole relies especially on yucca for its food and nest fibers. Look for them during the summer in parts of California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
18. Lesser Goldfinch
- Length: 3.5-4.3 in
- Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz
- Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in
The male Lesser goldfinch has a black cap, yellow underbody, and white patches on its dark wings, as pictured above. There is also another plumage variation that may be present in California where they can appear a dark glossy black all along their entire head and back. Females are yellow below with a more olive colored head and back. You’ll often see these finches in a mixed flock with other goldfinches, house finches and sparrows.
The Lesser goldfinch can be found year round throughout most of California and southern Arizona, and moves just a bit north into other southwestern states during the breeding season.
19. Great Crested Flycatcher
- Length: 6.7-8.3 in
- Weight: 0.9-1.4 oz
- Wingspan: 13.4 in
This large member of the flycatcher family migrates to eastern half of the U.S. to breed. They are about the size of a robin, with a warm brown back, gray face and yellow belly. The crest on their head isn’t very tall, but it does give their head a bit of a squared-off appearance.
Great crested flycatchers spend a lot of their time high up near the tops of trees, so they can be hard to spot, but if you become familiar with their song and calls, you may realize you hear them often. Listen for them in parks, forests, golf courses and wooded neighborhoods.
20. Prairie Warbler
Another lovely warbler species, the prairie warbler breaks up it’s bright yellow body with long black stripes. Males have heavy streaking on their sides, a black line through the eye and a semi-circle beneath the eye. Females are similar but with paler yellow and much paler black markings.
Despite their name, they actually live in forest habitat, especially second-growth forest and young pine. You can see them in the eastern U.S. during the spring and summer. In Florida a population of them lives year-round. In fact, those that breed in the mangroves of Florida are considered a subspecies and have a slightly larger size and white spots on their tail.