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Yellow-rumped Warbler

Setophaga coronata

Length: 5.5 inches Wingspan: 8.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant/Summer
ID Keys: Dependent on form, but both with bright yellow rump patch (seen when flying), yellow on side of chest.

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Setophaga coronataThere are two forms of the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the Myrtle and the Audubon's.  The Audubon's (shown in the picture to the right) is generally found in the western half of the continent, while the Myrtle  is generally found in the eastern half.  Note the differing throat color and facial pattern for the two forms, as seen in photos of both (bottom of the page).  Both forms can be found in South Dakota. 

Yellow-rumped Warblers are able to digest some berries and fruits that most other warblers can't. This allows them to arrive earlier in the spring and stay later in the fall than many other warblers, including during migration through South Dakota. Their fruit-eating habits also allows them to winter in the southern U.S.


Conifer forests in the summer, common in a wide variety of habitats during migration.


Insects and berries.  Winters further north than most warblers because of it's ability to digest berries.


Uses a wide variety of methods when foraging for food, including flycatching and snatching insects in mid-air, hovering and grabbing prey from the foliage, clambering through foliage and along branches and tree trunks, or feeding on the ground.  Males stick very tightly to females during courtship, exhibiting courtship displays at every turn.


Late May through mid-July. Yellow-rumped Warblers most often nest in conifer trees, less often in deciduous trees. The nest is placed in the crook of a forking branch, and is built by the female. The nest is a cup of grasses, twigs, and roots, lined with finer grasses, hair, and feathers. The female lays between 2 and 5 eggs, and she alone incubates them. Incubation lasts about 12 days, with the young fledging from the nest after about another 12 days.


The primary song of a Yellow-rumped Warbler is a series of sweet whistled notes that accelerate towards the end. They have multiple calls, including a crisp check call, and more of a whistled psee.


Neotropical migrant. Yellow-rumped Warbler summer through much of the western US, Canada, up through Alaska, and in the Great Lakes and New England areas of the US. They over-winter in the southern U.S. and points south. In South Dakota, they are migrants in most of the state, where they may be among the most numerous spring and fall migrant warblers. They also breed in the Black Hills and locally in other areas of far western South Dakota.

Interactive eBird map:

Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Yellow-rumped Warbler sightings

Similar Species:

There are a number of warbler species that migrate through South Dakota that have yellow patches interspersed with more basic gray, black, and white colors. The following are the species most likely to be confused with Yellow-rumped Warblers:

Magnolia Warbler 9 - Setophaga magnolia Magnolia Warbler 3 - Setophaga magnolia Yellow-throated Warbler - Setophaga dominica
Magnolia Warbler Magnolia Warbler Yellow-throated Warbler

Conservation Status:

Yellow-rumped Warblers have an extremely large geographic range, and are common in parts of that range. Systematic surveys show no worrying trends in overall populations. The IUCN considers the Yellow-rumped Warbler to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information:

Photo Information:

May 2008 - Bryce Canyon, Utah - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos:

Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Yellow-rumped Warbler photos.

Audio File Credits:

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant throughout the state.  Common summer resident in the Black Hills and locally elsewhere in the far western part of the state.

Additional Yellow-rumped Warbler Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 2 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 3 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 4 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 5 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 6 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 7 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 8 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 9 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 10 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 11 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 12 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 13 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 14 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 15 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 16 - Setophaga coronataYellow-rumped Warbler 17 - Setophaga coronata