8 Birds With Yellow Chests

Written by Patrick Sather
Published: November 10, 2021
Image Credit Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock.com
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Picture the most colorful bird that you can imagine. Can you see what it looks like in your mind? Perhaps you thought of a peacock, or maybe even a scarlet macaw. These birds with bright feathers stand out vividly both in our minds and in the wild. Birds rely on their plumage to help them identify members of the same species as well as birds of the opposite gender. In some cases, brightly colored males incorporate their feathers into courtship rituals. By flashing their multi-hued tails and wings, these colorful males hope to attract a prospective mate. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors, from bright pink to dark blue. While some birds have red chests, there exists another subset of birds with yellow chests. Speaking of birds with yellow chests, can you name any of these birds?

In case you can’t, don’t fret, because we’ve got you covered. Over the course of this article, we’ll introduce you to 8 different birds with yellow chests. We’ll discuss where they live and what they look like, and describe some of their more well-known behaviors. Hopefully, the next time you go for a walk you’ll get to see one of these yellow-chested beauties. Even if you don’t, we’re still happy to teach you all about these 8 birds with yellow chests.

#8: Yellow-Breasted Chat

Birds with yellow chests: Yellow-Breasted Chat
The yellow-breasted chat is quite shy but enjoys singing loudly for all to hear.

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The yellow-breasted chat is in the family Icteriidae, of which it is the only current member. While it used to belong to the New World warbler family, scientists now consider it to be a distinct species. During the summer, they breed in southern Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico. They migrate south to spend the winter in coastal areas of southern Mexico and the dense shrublands of Central America. On average, they measure 6.7 to 7.5 inches long, making them larger than any New World warbler. Yellow-breasted chats mostly feed on insects and berries and may hold onto food with their feet while eating. Normally quite shy, you will often hear their harsh calls before you ever see these cautious birds. Their name comes from their bright yellow chest and throat. Meanwhile, their backs appear olive-green while their bellies look white. 

#7: Couch’s Kingbird

Birds with yellow chests: Couch's Kingbird
Couch’s kingbird often gets confused for the similar-looking Western kingbird.

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Couch’s kingbird belongs to the kingbird genus Tyrannus in the tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae. Named after naturalist Darius N. Couch, these birds with yellow chests live in a fairly narrow area. They live only near the Gulf Coast and range as far as Texas in the north and Guatemala in the south. Inside that zone, their preferred habitats include sparsely wooded areas, riparian forests, and urban areas. Typically, they measure around 7 inches long and sport a large head and forked tail. Like all flycatchers, they mostly eat insects like beetles, grasshoppers, and flies, but will also eat berries and seeds. Their plumage appears light gray on their heads, and gray-green on their backs. That said, their chest and bellies sport bright yellow feathers. Due to their appearance, people often confuse them for western kingbirds or the more common tropical kingbird, which also have yellow chests. 

#6: Yellow-Breasted Fruit Dove

Birds with yellow chests: Yellow-Breasted Fruit Dove
Yellow-breasted fruit doves live only in the Philippines, where they are protected under the law to prevent their exploitation.

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Also known as the balorinay, the yellow-breasted fruit dove is a member of the pigeon and dove family Columbidae. While fruit doves range throughout Southeast Asia and Australasia, these birds with yellow chests live only in the Philippines. Generally, you can find them in humid tropical forests located at low elevations. A medium-sized species, it’s of a similar size to other fruit doves, which measure around 9 to 10 inches long. Like other fruit doves, the yellow-breasted fruit dove’s diet primarily consists of locally available fruits and berries. Due to threats from hunting, trapping, and habitat loss, they currently come under the protection of Philippine law. As their name implies, they feature a bright yellow chest. As for the rest of their plumage, they feature red and white striped heads, red bellies, green wings, and silver backs and shoulders.

#5: Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Birds with yellow chests: Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
The yellow-bellied sapsucker lives in mixed forests throughout North America and the Caribbean.

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The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a member of the woodpecker family Picidae. Depending on the season, you can find these birds with yellow chests throughout mainland North America and the Caribbean. Their preferred habitats include mixed forests as well as pastures and urban areas at both high and low elevations. Most specimens measure between 7.5 to 8.3 inches long with a wingspan of 13.4 to 15.8 inches. Like other sapsuckers, their diet includes sap, which they find by using their bills to drill holes in trees. In addition, they also eat a variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects such as beetles and ants. They feature dull yellow feathers on their chests and bellies, which fade to almost white near the tail. The rest of their plumage appears red on the crown and throat, and black and white on the face, wings, tail, and back.

#4: Western Tanager

Birds with yellow chests: Western Tanager
The western tanager breeds farther north than any other North American tanager.

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Despite its name, the western tanager is actually a member of the cardinal family Cardinalidae. They range throughout the western half of North America, from Alaska in the north to Mexico in the south. You can usually find them in mixed forest environments, well as parks, orchards, and riparian woodlands. On average, they measure 6.3 to 7.5 inches long with a wingspan around 11.5 inches. While they also eat fruits, their diet mainly consists of insects such as wasps, ants, caterpillars, and beetles. Like other tanagers, they frequently catch their food in midair, but also glean it from the branches of trees. Males feature red faces, black backs, and bright yellow chests and bellies, hence their name. 

#3: Audubon’s Oriole

Birds with yellow chests: Audubon's Oriole
Audubon’s orioles use their bills to pry apart tree bark to feast on the insects inside.

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Previously known as the black-headed oriole, Audubon’s oriole is a member of the blackbird family Icteridae. Although relatively abundant in their range, they live only in southeastern Texas and along both coasts of Mexico. These birds with yellow chests do not migrate and live year-round in dense forests and riverside thickets. Generally, they measure around 7.5 to 9.4 inches long with a wingspan of around 12.6 inches. Their diet consists primarily of insects, which they find by using their bills to pry apart tree bark and other plants. In addition, they also eat spiders, fruits, and seeds. Compared to other orioles, Audubon’s orioles possess unique plumage. Males feature all-black hoods, throats, tails, as well as black wings fringed with white. As for their chests, bellies, and shoulders, they appear almost completely dark yellow, which gives these birds striking contrast. 

#2: Yellow-Breasted Brushfinch

Birds with yellow chests: Yellow-Breasted Brushfinch
The yellow-breasted brushfinch features striking yellow and black plumage with a red crown.

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Also known as the cloud-forest brushfinch, the yellow-breasted brushfinch belongs to the New World sparrow family Passerellidae. While not the most well-known among birds with yellow chests, these South American songbirds are worthy of attention. These portly-looking birds range throughout forests and woodlands of the Andes mountains. In the wild, you can find them in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. As they are fairly common throughout their limited range, the IUCN lists them as a species of Least Concern. On average, they measure around 6.5 inches long, and sport rounded bodies and short necks. Their diet primarily consists of insects, but they will also eat seeds, particularly during the winter. They feature bright yellow chests and bellies, which fade to gray as they near the edge of the wings. Meanwhile, their backs, tails, and faces appear jet black, while their crown is a light brown color. 

#1: Eurasian Blue Tit

Birds with yellow chests: Eurasian Blue Tit
The Eurasian blue tit gets its yellow color from the large number of yellow caterpillars in its diet.

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The Eurasian blue tit is a member of the tit family Paridae. These bright blue birds with yellow chests range throughout Europe as well as parts of the Middle East. A small species, they measure around 4.7 inches long with a wingspan of only 7.1 inches. Known for their acrobatic displays, you can often find them hanging upside down from branches or zipping through trees. Gardeners love them because of their diet, which includes pests such as aphids, grubs, and moths. They sport bright blue crowns, and darker blue backs, tails, and wings. Their faces look predominantly white, except for a black stripe that runs across both eyes. Last but not least, their chests and bellies appear dark yellow. Due to pigments in their food, the more yellow caterpillars they eat, the more vibrant yellow their plumage.

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