The Buckeye State is a popular birding destination thanks to its wide range of estuaries, national parks, national forests, and nature preserves that attract feathered friends.
Read on to learn how to identify yellow birds in Ohio, from the dazzling cedar waxwing to the subtle grasshopper sparrow.
What Kind of Yellow Birds Are in Ohio?
Many different small singing birds, also known as warblers, come to Ohio for breeding. The most frequently spotted ones that feature yellow colors include American Goldfinch and Yellow Warbler.
1. American Redstart
The American Redstart is in constant motion, with males using their black and orange patterning to startle their prey. Females and juveniles lack these bright colors, sporting dull grey plumage with yellow accents under the wings and tail to help them hide from predators.
2. American Yellow Warbler
This vivid lemon-colored songbird stands out in its shrubby habitat, but the tawny streaks on its chest help provide some camouflage.
3. Baltimore Oriole
While the male has an iconic feathering in orange, black, and white, the female Baltimore Oriole is far less decorative, with a ruddy yellow body and barred, dusty brown wings.
4. Black-throated Green Warbler
Despite its name, the black-throated green warbler has a golden cap rather than a green. They are quite distinctive, as their bright head transitions into a stately black and white body.
5. Blue-winged Warbler
Blue-winged warblers have a song that matches well with their black and yellow feathers, which sounds similar to a bee’s buzzing.
6. Canada Warbler
The chipper Canada Warbler has a unique pattern, with a grey “hood” that extends from the top of its head to its tail. However, their bellies are striking gold, with a speckled black “necklace” under the chin.
7. Cape May Warbler
Thanks to its specialized, proboscis-like tongue, you’ll see the Cape May warbler sipping nectar alongside its hummingbird brethren. They are covered in a flash of electric lemon feathers topped with strokes of black on the belly.
8. Cedar Waxwing
The cedar waxwing seems more like a work of art than a living creature, as its plush, seamless plumage looks like it’s been painted on by a deft hand. Most of their bodies are neutral, creamy brown shades, but their lower bellies and tail tips are a much more eye-catching color.
9. Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided warblers wear a jaunty cap of bright yellow feathers. In breeding males, this sunny spot grows larger to attract mates.
10. Common Yellowthroat
The aptly-named common yellowthroat only appears in Ohio during the breeding season, with males arriving at the first sign of spring to establish territories before the females arrive.
The dickcissel is a South American native, but you’ll see flocks of these wide-beaked birds with a yellow bib making their way to the Buckeye State in the fall.
12. Eastern Meadowlark
Lanky and long-legged, eastern meadowlarks are elegant members of the blackbird family rather than the larks. The males have proud chests with distinct V-shaped black patterns on lemony plumage.
13. Evening Grosbeak
Though relatively rare, the evening grosbeak is another example of yellow birds in Ohio that migrate during the non-breeding season. They are stocky finches with large, thick bills and charmingly plump bodies dressed in black, white, and yellow.
14. Grasshopper Sparrow
The grasshopper sparrow can only claim a blush of yellow around the eyes and on the wing, but the color pops cheerfully against their otherwise cream and brown plumage.
15. Hooded Warbler
Hooded warblers are one of the easiest yellow birds in Ohio to identify, as its namesake black hood leaves a large, yellow eyemask peeking through.
16. Kentucky Warbler
These jaunty little songbirds aren’t easy to find, but the Kentucky Warbler frequents Ohio’s deciduous forests, where they hop about in the underbrush on the hunt for tasty insects.
17. Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia warblers are striking, with long black stripes reaching from the neck to the golden underbelly and stark white “eyebrows” against their dark head cap.
18. Mourning Warbler
Like their cousin, the magnolia warbler, mourning warblers have darker heads–nearly black in the males– but feature olive wings with a shock of citrine feathers on the rest of their bodies.
19. Nashville Warbler
Plump and pleasant Nashville warblers are prolific migrators, grouping up with similarly sized fellows like chickadees as they make their way from one coast to the other. They are recognizable from below because of their white-yellow-white patterning on their bellies.
20. Northern Parula
Yet another member of the warbler family, the northern parula, is a small, steely blue bird with a flush of blonde and chestnut under its beaks.
21. Orange-crowned Warbler
While the orange-crowned warbler won’t win any awards for being the most vibrant of all the yellow birds in Ohio, this buffed, greyish-olive migrator does have a surprising burst of sunshine on the underside of its tails.
22. Orchard Oriole
Male orchard orioles look similar to the Baltimore oriole, but the female trades in the pumpkin plumage for ruddy grey top feathers with a bold yellow undertone on their undersides.
23. Palm Warbler
Bedecked in a chestnut hat and round, speckled chest, the palm warbler is a charmer that flocks up alongside yellow-rumped warblers and sparrows during their southern migration. You can pick them out by their creamy blonde under-tails.
24. Pine Warbler
While the pine warbler is shaped more like a bunting than much of the Parulidae family, it’s a lovely addition to the list of yellow birds in Ohio. Its happy, trilling song coordinates nicely with the cheery marigold coloration.
25. Prairie Warbler
Prairie warblers are regal in posture and courtly in color, with most of their feathers in verdant greens and creamy, rich browns. Their intriguing black-eye adornments stand out against the flash of canary yellow on their heads and undersides.
26. Prothonotary Warbler
You’ll find the prothonotary warbler brightening up the lively Ohio wetlands where they build nests in dead trees. Their nomenclature is quite clever, harkening back to the yellow robes of protonotaries in the Catholic church.
27. Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet tanager males are something to behold, with breathtaking crimson bodies accented with velvety black wings and tails, but the females are a bit more modest in pastel greenish-yellow.
28. Summer Tanager
Similarly to the scarlet tanager, male summer tanagers sport distinctive ruby red plumage, though they lack inky accessories. Females of the species are a bit brighter yellow, with a blush of cinnamon and cocoa on their wings.
29. Yellow Rail
Short, squat, and perfectly camouflaged in its natural habitat, the yellow rail is perhaps the most elusive of all yellow birds in Ohio. Their plumage is highly patterned with bars and speckles in black, yellow, white, and brown.
30. White-eyed Vireo
Named for its startingly snowy-colored eye, the white-eyed vireo is a plump little orb with yellow eye masks and wing bars in shades of gleaming gold. The underside is more of a buttery primrose.
31. Wilson’s Warbler
Wilson’s warbler is a stylish songbird with a pompadour of slicked, black feathers atop its round head. Their backs and wings are a mossy green, but the heads, necks, and bellies are a much more festive canary yellow.
32. Yellow-breasted Chat
If you catch sight of the yellow-breasted chat, their names will come as no surprise. These slender subspecies of the warblers sing nonstop in the spring, offering improvised harmonies that consist of an unbelievable range of sounds.
33. Yellow-headed Blackbird
One of the more obviously named yellow birds in Ohio is the yellow-headed blackbird, which looks remarkably similar to their more common brothers, apart from a startling mustard cap that runs down the front of their chests.
34. Yellow-rumped Warbler
The yellow-rumped warbler typically occupies Central America, but they come in droves once the mercury rises in spring. This is when they molt, abandoning their plain winter plumage for a confetti mix of black, grey, and yellow in preparation for the breeding season.
35. Yellow-throated Vireo
While their golden throats are the most eye-catching characteristic of the yellow-throated vireo, a closer inspection reveals their indigo-blue legs.
36. Yellow-throated Warbler
The distinctive black and white bars adorning the yellow-throated warbler coordinate beautifully with their banana-colored bib.
Brightly-colored birds aren’t exclusive to tropical rainforests and African savannas. You can find feathered friends in a rainbow of bold colors right in your backyard.
Next time you spot a flash of topaz plumage hopping on the edge of your community feeder, you’ll know which of the many yellow birds in Ohio is stopping by.