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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

Yellow-breasted Chat -- Icteria virens

RANGE: Breeds from southern British Columbia, North Dakota, southern Minnesota, southern Ontario, Vermont, and New Hampshire south to south-central Baja California, the Gulf Coast, north-central Florida, and Mexico. Winters from southern Texas and southern Florida south through Central America and western Panama.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Favors ravine or streamside thickets of vines, briars, small trees, and tall shrubs. Also inhabits forest edges, hedgerows, overgrown pastures, scrub country, and early successional stages of forest regeneration.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Dense shrubs and vines with scattered young trees.

NEST: Usually builds nest 2 to 8 feet above the ground in dense small bushes, vines, or briars. May sometimes nest in groups or colonies, but maintains separate territories.

FOOD: Primarily eats insects gleaned from foliage and shrub stems; also eats some berries and fruits.

REFERENCES: Bent 1953b, Dennis 1958, Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Petrides 1938, Thompson and Nolan 1973.

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