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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Common Yellowthroat -- Geothlypis trichas


RANGE: Breeds from southeastern Alaska to northern Alberta and Newfoundland south to northern Baja California, Mexico, and southern Texas, the Gulf Coast and southern Florida. Winters along the Pacific Coast, from northern California across southern Arizona, central Texas, and southern Arkansas to the Gulf States, and along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey, Virginia, and Delaware to Florida; also in the Bahamas, West Indies, Mexico, and Central America.

STATUS: Common to abundant.

HABITAT: Typically inhabits areas with a mixture of dense, lush herbaceous vegetation with small woody plants (mainly shrubs and small trees), in damp or wet situations. Occasionally found in dry thickets or dense undergrowth in open woodlands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Dense growth of low vegetation.

NEST: Builds a bulky cup nest of grass, leaves, and bark, well hidden on the ground in a grass tussock or similar vegetation. Occasionally locates nest in shrubs or a tangle of briars up to 3 feet above the ground.

FOOD: Gleans insects and spiders from leaves of shrubs, grasses, and forbs.

REFERENCES: Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Hofslund 1959, Low and Mansell 1983, Stewart 1953, Terres 1980.


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