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14 Yellow Birds in Ohio (with Photos)

From warblers to finches, there is no shortage of yellow birds in Ohio. This state is home to a number of feathered creatures, all with their own unique and interesting characteristics that set them apart from one another. You can even encourage many of the yellow birds in Ohio to visit your backyard with the help of feeders, nesting boxes, and native plants. 

14 Yellow Birds in Ohio

Some of the common yellow birds you can find in Ohio include the yellow warbler, American goldfinch, hooded warbler, common yellowthroat, Kentucky warbler, orchard oriole, yellow-breasted chat, evening grosbeak, summer tanager, scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, prothonotary warbler, great-crested flycatcher and eastern meadowlark.

1. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler
Yellow warbler (male) | image by Silver Leapers via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Setophaga petechia

The yellow warbler is found throughout much of the United States during the spring and summer, including Ohio where it spends the breeding season. Both sexes are mainly yellow all over with a slightly darker olive back and a black eye. Males are slightly brighter in color, and have rusty read streaks that trail down their chest. 

Since the yellow warbler preys on insects, they typically won’t flock to feeders. They can, however, be found nesting in large yards with plenty of small, native trees. Look for them in meadows and woodlands near rivers and streams, where you’ll hear them singing their “sweet-sweet-sweet-I’m-so-sweet” song.

2. American Goldfinch

Scientific Name: Spinus tristis

The American Goldfinch is another yellow bird, and can be seen year round all over the state of Ohio. The male of the species is much more showy than the female, with a bright yellow back, head, and underside, with black wings and forehead cap. The female is more dull in color and lacks the black cap.

In the winter, both sexes look much more brown and olive than yellow in their drab non-breeding plumage. Goldfinches love seeds and can be enticed to backyard feeders filled with nyjer and sunflower seeds.

3. Hooded Warbler

Hooded warbler
Hooded Warbler (male) | image by Fyn Kynd via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Setophaga citrina

Hooded warblers are found in Ohio during the breeding season. Both the male and female of the species are bright yellow in color, but the male has a distinctive black hood on the top of its head, along with a black throat.

Hooded warblers prey on insects, so it is very unlikely you will find them stopping at backyard feeders. Planting native trees and shrubs can help them while they make their way through the state during their migration period. 

4. Common Yellowthroat

Common yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat (male) | image by Channel City Camera Club via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Geothlypis trichas

The common yellowthroat is another small yellow bird that visits Ohio during its breeding season. These warblers nest in shrubs and consume various types of insects.

They have bright yellow underparts that extend from tail to throat, with and olive-brown back and head. Adult makes also have a black mask across both eyes. Females and immature males have a similar appearance but lack the black mask.

5. Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky warbler
Kentucky warbler | image by Andrew Weitzel via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Geothlypis formosa

The Kentucky warbler breeds in Ohio before it heads to Mexico and South America for the winter. Unlike many warblers that remain in trees, this species is also a ground forager that hunts for insects and grubs. They even make their nest at the base of shrubs or ferns.

Both the male and female Kentucky warbler have long legs, a yellow underside and olive green tops. The main difference in their appearance is that the male has a black crown and black sideburns.

6. Orchard Oriole

orchard oriole
Orchard Oriole (first year male) | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Icterus spurius

Male orchard orioles wouldn’t make this list with their dark rusty and black plumage. However before they get those rusty orange feathers, first-year males are bright yellow with gray wings and a black patch around the eyes and on the chin. Females are also yellow and look like first-year males without the black on the face. 

Orchard orioles winter in Central and South America, and travel to Ohio for the breeding season. Find them throughout much of Ohio between May and September. As their name suggests, they like orchard and farm habitat, as well as shrubland, woodland and lakeshores. 


7. Yellow-Breasted Chat

Yellow breasted chat
Yellow-breasted Chat | image by Charles Gates via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Icteria virens

The yellow-breasted chat breeds throughout many regions of the U.S., including in Ohio, but overwinters in Central America. This bird has a long tail and bulky body that features a bright yellow breast and throat. Their head and back are gray and they have a black and white stripe around each eye.

Yellow-breasted chats love to nest in dense shrubbery, such as blackberry bushes. These insect-eating birds consume spiders, beetles, bees, moths, larva, ants, and various other bugs, but won’t turn away from berries and fruits.

8. Evening Grosbeak

Male Evening Grosbeak
Male Evening Grosbeak (image: AlainAudet | pixabay)

Scientific Name: Coccothraustes vespertinus

Evening grosbeaks are a heavy finch with a thick bill. The males have a yellow and black body, a white stripe on their wings, and a bright yellow stripe on each eye. The females are not as vibrant as the males and are mostly gray in color.

The evening grosbeak is not a common sight in Ohio, but they have been spotted at backyard feeders in the state every so often during the winter looking for food. When their favorite seeds aren’t as plentiful in their typical range to the north, they’ll come south for the winter in search of a new food crop.

9. Summer Tanager

summer tanager
Summer Tanager (female) | image by Patricia Pierce via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Piranga rubra

Summer tanagers are a medium-sized songbird that was once a member of the tanager family of birds. In recent years, however, this genus has been reclassified to belong to the cardinal family, but they still keep the tanager name.

The male summer tanager is almost entirely red, while females are entirely yellow. These birds prefer to forage for insects in the treetops, and are known for their ability to eat bees and wasps. Summer tanagers visit Ohio in the summer, typically from May through August. They are more common in the southern half of the state.

10. Scarlet Tanager

female scarlet tanager
Female Scarlet Tanager | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Piranga olivacea 

Similar to summer tanagers, during the breeding season male scarlet tanagers are red while females are yellow. You can tell them apart by their wings, black on males and dark/dusky on females. During the non-breeding season, males molt back to look similar to females. 

Spot scarlet tanagers during the spring and summer in the eastern United States, including Ohio. While the bird’s primary food source consists of insects, they may be attracted to a yard with berry bushes. 

11. Baltimore Oriole 

Scientific Name: Icterus galbula

While the males of this species feature orange and black feathers, the females are the reason they are on this list. Female Baltimore orioles are mostly yellow or yellow-orange with gray wings. Juvenile males present as yellow for a time too, before they grow in their orange and black adult colors.

Baltimore orioles are migratory birds, arriving in Ohio in the spring to breed and raise their young. They like habitats with a mix of trees like woodlands, forest edges, and residential areas with mature trees. In the fall they head south again to spend the winter in warmer climates.

12. Prothonotary Warbler

prothonotary warbler
prothonotary warbler |

Scientific Name: Protonotaria citrea

The prothonotary warbler is a beautiful yellow bird found in Ohio during the summer months. They feature a brilliant golden-yellow head, neck, and belly with wings and tails a contrasting gray. This warbler also features a relatively long and slightly curved bill.

Their arrival in Ohio typically occurs in late April or early May, and they may be observed until early fall before they embark on their southward migration.

13. Great Crested Flycatcher

great crested flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Myiarchus crinitus

While many flycatchers feature at least some pale yellow, the great crested flycatcher has a notably bright yellow belly that help set it apart. They have a grayish-brown back and head, with a squared off crest. You can also look for the reddish hue of their tail. 

These large flycatchers spend much of their time at the tops of trees, so you’ll have to pay attention to spot them. But you can learn their loud whistling call, and know when they are nearby. 

14. Eastern Meadowlark

eastern meadow lark
Eastern Meadow Lark | image by fishhawk via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Sturnella magna

Eastern meadowlarks have long and stout bodies with long, pointed bills. The feathers on their backs and wings are primarily brown, streaked with black and white markings. However, their most striking feature is the bright yellow coloring on their throats and bellies, divided by a distinctive V-shaped black patch on the chest.

These tall grassland birds that like to sing while perched on fences and utility lines. They remain year-round in Ohio, and while they may be less conspicuous in the winter, you may see them in large flocks looking for seeds in open fields.