Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens


An anomaly among wood warblers, Yellow-breasted Chat is the size of some tanagers and grosbeaks (18 cm length), sings a loud, varied thrasher-like song, and engages in a decidedly non-warbler-like hovering aerial display. Additionally, it is one of a few songbirds that sings at night. Plumage is simple—greenish-grey above and yellow below with a white lower belly, white spectacles and whisker streak and dark cheeks. The bill is unusually large for a warbler. Chats breed from southern Canada to central Mexico at elevations of sea level to about 2500 m. Migrants occur as far south as Panama. Breeding pairs occur in a variety of dense habitats, most often riparian, spilling out into surrounding hardwoods, pines, mesquites, and other forest types, including well wooded residential areas. They lay 3-5 eggs in a cup constructed in a shrub, vine tangle or similar thick foliage and not far above ground level. Chats take a wide variety of insect prey as well as vegetation such as berries.

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© Geoffrey A. Keller

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: