Out of the multitude of colors that birds portray, yellow is one of the more common colors, and many bird species have yellow on their bellies.
The yellow coloration on birds is used predominantly by males during the breeding season when they seek the attention of females during courtship displays. Females also use the color to help camouflage with the environment.
The birds with yellow bellies stand out in their preferred habitats as they often perch out in the open during the breeding season, making them reasonably easy to see while out birding.
Warblers epitomize birds with yellow bellies, so you will notice that a few are mentioned in the following article. They’re joined by a host of other beautiful birds with yellow bellies found in North America.
Without further ado, here are 13 beautiful birds with yellow bellies that you can see in North America.
1. Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)
The Prothonotary Warbler is one of the most beautiful little birds with yellow bellies. The males have very bright plumage with a lovely yellow head, neck, and underside with a greenish-olive back and blue-gray wings, rump, and tail. The undertail is white, while the long bill and eyes are dark.
Females are duller than males, with a greenish crown and nape.
They occur in swamps and wet forests, where they breed in the southeastern United States during summer. This migratory species winters in Central America and the northern parts of South America in swamps, coastal forests, and mangroves.
On migration, they can be seen in marshes, scrubland, and coastal areas.
Their diet consists of insects, spiders, mollusks, and snails. In winter, they also sometimes feed on seeds and fruit.
2. Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)
The Western Tanager is a stunning bird, with the males in breeding plumage sporting yellow plumage overall with an orange-red head, throat, and chest. The wings, back, and tail are black on the upper side. They also have a pale beak and two wing bars, of which one is white, and the other is yellow.
In non-breeding plumage, the males don’t have an orange-red head but instead have a wash of orange on the face, while the rest is yellow. They also have black mottling on their backs.
Females have grayish-yellow plumage overall, with brighter yellow on the face, rump, and undertail. They also have the yellow and white wing bars and the pale beak present in males.
You can find this species on the western side of the United States and Canada in summer and in Mexico and Central America during winter.
They inhabit open woodlands, forests, forest edges, wetlands, orchards, yards, and parks.
This species feeds on insects during summer and fruit in winter.
3. Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)
The Canada Warbler is one of the many small birds with yellow bellies. The males of this species have blue-gray upper parts, yellow underparts, dark eyes surrounded by a whitish eye ring, black speckling on the crown, a white undertail, black on the face, and black streaks on the chest.
Females are similar to males, with paler black streaking on the chest and a duller upperside.
This highly migratory warbler breeds in summer in the northeastern United States and southern Canada. They spend the winter in northern South America.
They live in wet woodlands, forests, and thickets near water. They inhabit various habitats on migration, including scrubby parks, forest edges, and woodlots. In winter, they occur along forest edges, in forests, coffee plantations, and fields with scrub.
They feed primarily on insects and spiders. Occasionally, they eat fruit, worms, and snails.
4. Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)
The Western Kingbird is a large flycatcher-type bird that occurs widely across western North America during summer. They are migratory – spending the winter in southern Mexico, Central America, and a small section of south Florida.
They have a gray head and neck, a whitish throat and chest, and a bright yellow belly. The upper side is brown, with darker wings, and the tail is black with white edging.
They live in open habitats such as shrublands, grasslands, semi-deserts, savannas, fields, pastures, farmlands, and urban environments. They are often found near woodland edges, too. In winter, they occur in open woodlands, grasslands, fields, and plantations.
This species feeds primarily on insects. They also eat spiders and fruit occasionally.
5. American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
The American Goldfinch is a stunning songbird with bright plumage. Males in breeding plumage have a yellow head, neck, back, and underparts. The forehead, wings, and tail are black, with some white markings, while the undertail and rump are white. They have pink beaks in summer.
Non-breeding males are brown overall, with a yellowish head, blackish wings, and whitish wing bars. Their beaks are grayish-brown in this plumage state.
Breeding females are similar to males, with a dull yellow on the underside, olive on the forehead and upper side with two wingbars on the wings. In non-breeding plumage, they are mostly brown with black wings and whitish wingbars.
They inhabit cultivated lands, orchards, weedy fields, parks, and yards, where they mainly feed on seeds.
This species is a short-distance migrant which is resident throughout most of its range in the United States. Birds that breed in central and southern Canada and the northern United States during summer typically migrate south for winter, as far as Mexico.
6. Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
The Eastern Meadowlark is a large-billed songbird that has a brown upper side with dark streaking and a bright yellow underside, including the belly and a black mark shaped like a “v” on the chest. The outer tail feathers are white. Non-breeding birds are duller than those in breeding plumage.
This species inhabits many grassy habitats, particularly grasslands, prairies, fields, and farmlands.
They range throughout eastern North America from southeastern Canada across the eastern United States, through to southern Mexico, and down to Central America and northern South America.
They primarily reside within their range, but birds breeding in the north usually migrate south for winter.
Their diet includes insects, seeds, and fruit.
7. Audubon’s Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)
Audubon’s Oriole has a black head, neck, throat, wings (with white edging), and tail contrasting with the rest of the yellow body and greenish-yellow back.
Their distribution is primarily in Mexico, but they also occur in southern Texas in the United States.
They inhabit woodlands and other woody habitats, including yards and parks. In Mexico, they also live in many forest types, scrub, thickets, and coffee plantations.
Their diet includes insects, spiders, seeds, fruit, and nectar.
8. Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
The Evening Grosbeak is a large finch with the males sporting a bright yellow underside, a dark gray head with a yellow stripe above each eye, and white wing patches on the black wings. The back is dark gray, the rump is yellow, the tail is black, and the beak is pale.
Females are almost entirely gray, with white and black on the wings. There is a greenish-yellow wash on the flanks, rump, and neck, and the beak is pale. The chin and undertail are white.
They inhabit mature forests in the northern and western parts of the United States and southern Canada all year round but often move south into the United States during winter. Occasionally, you can find them in woodlands, orchards, parks, and yards. Some birds are resident in parts of Mexico.
This species feeds on a variety of insects, seeds, fruit, buds, and sap.
9. Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum)
Scott’s Oriole is a stunning black and yellow oriole species that occurs in the southwestern United States and Mexico. They are resident in central Mexico and migratory elsewhere, spending the summer in the United States and migrating south for winter.
Males have a black head, neck, back, tail, and chest, while the wings are black with a white wingbar. They have a yellow belly, rump, undertail, flanks and shoulder patches.
Females have dark brown wings with two white wingbars, grayish-olive upper sides, and olive-yellow underparts with some black on the head, chest, and throat. The tail is olive-green.
They favor arid and semi-arid habitats such as desert hillsides, plains in between mountains, and mixed woodlands where they eat insects, fruit, and nectar.
10. Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pasilla)
Like other warbler species, Wilson’s Warbler is a stunning specimen with yellow all over the body. Males have a yellow head, neck, and underparts, a black crown, an olive-yellow back and rump, and dark olive-brown wings and tail. Females look similar to males but generally have an olive crown.
They spend the summer in northern and western North America in dense thickets close to water, forest edges, and wet meadows. They migrate to Mexico and Central America for winter, where they occur in many woody habitats, from thickets to forests.
This species feeds on insects and spiders.
11. Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)
The Hooded Warbler is a small, brilliant-looking bird as the males don a yellow face surrounded by a black hood and throat. Their upper sides are olive, the undersides are yellow, and the tail has white outer feathers.
Females resemble males but with less black on the hood.
They live in forests with shrubby understories during the breeding season and tropical forests and scrubby fields in the non-breeding season.
They occur in the eastern United States and a small section of southern Canada in summer. They migrate to Mexico and Central America for winter.
Their diet comprises insects and spiders.
12. Williamson’s Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)
Williamson’s Sapsucker is a lovely-looking woodpecker. Males have black bodies with a white wing patch, two white stripes on the side of the face, a white rump, white and black flanks, a bright yellow belly, and a red throat.
The females have a brown head, while the rest of the body is barred black and white. They also have a dull red throat patch, a black chest, a yellow belly, and a white rump.
Their diet mainly comprises sap and phloem tissue, but they also feed on insects, spiders, fruit, and seeds.
They occur in mountainous forests of the western United States and Canada, where they breed in summer. They migrate to the southern United States and Mexico for winter.
Some birds near the coast and further south remain all year round, and others are altitudinal migrants that move to lower altitudes for winter.
13. Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)
The adult Yellow Warbler is a brilliant, bright yellow bird overall. Males have reddish-brown streaking on the underside and a greenish-yellow back. The wings are darker than the rest of the body, with yellow edges.
Females lack streaking and are often paler yellow, but they also have a greenish-yellow back.
They are distributed widely across North America in summer and migrate to Central and northern South America, where they spend the winter.
They inhabit shrubby habitats close to water, including thickets and forests in summer. In winter, they occur in mangrove forests, marshes, forests, and scrublands.
Some birds are resident in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. They have a reddish-brown head and live predominantly in mangroves.
Birds living in the West Indies all year round have a reddish-brown cap and inhabit mangroves.
This species feeds on insects.
You’ll notice from the list above that male birds often don the brightest yellow bellies, and their female counterparts are usually dull. That is the more typical rule in the avian kingdom, but even so, some females still look delightful with their yellow bellies.
Birds with yellow bellies in North America cover a vast range of habitats, from grasslands to forests, and you’ll have a good chance of seeing one of these birds while out birding.
Some birds, like the Yellow Warbler, have massive distributions and can be seen almost anywhere on the continent, while others, like the Audubon’s Oriole, are more localized.
Some of the birds in this article are very common, and you may even see one or two in your yard!