Discover 11 Beautiful Yellow and Black Birds

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: August 6, 2023
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The stark contrast between bright yellow and midnight black is eye-catching, especially when it adorns an elegant bird hopping on branches or flitting around bushes. Many bird species feature colorful plumage in North America. Discover 11 beautiful yellow and black birds and learn about their locations, habitats, and behavior.

If you see a vocal little bird with a black face mask hopping through dense tangles, you’ve spotted the common yellowthroat.

1. American Goldfinch

Yellow Animal – American Goldfinch

The male has bright coloring in the summer to attract a mate. You can spot them with their bright yellow plumage and black foreheads and wings.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

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The American goldfinch is common in North America, usually around suburban bird feeders. They breed in Southern Canada and the Northern United States and winter in the southern half of the United States and Mexico. However, there are quite a few year-round residents in the U.S. This species prefers open weedy areas, like fields, floodplains, parks, and backyards. You can spot them with their bright yellow plumage, black foreheads, and black wings. Their wings also have light white barring. 

2. Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed blackbirds are a familiar sight during summers in the Central and Northwestern United States.

©iStock.com/Nancy Strohm

The yellow-headed blackbird is hard to ignore. With their all-black bodies, golden yellow heads, and rusty calls, this is not a species you will easily forget. They are a familiar sight during summers in the Central and Northwestern United States. These short-distance migrants spend winters in the Southwest and Mexico. They breed in wet prairies, mountain meadows, and marshes, nesting in tall cattails near the red-winged blackbird. They form large flocks in the winter to forage in fields, ranches, and farms.

3. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas, perched in a marsh,

The common yellowthroat is abundant across North America, breeding in Canada and the U.S. and wintering in Mexico and Central America.

©DC Wildlife Photography/Shutterstock.com

If you see a vocal little bird with a black face mask hopping through dense tangles, you’ve spotted the common yellowthroat. These birds are olive with bright yellow throats and breasts. And their black eye mask is offset by a blurry white line that separates the face from the head. The common yellowthroat is abundant across North America, breeding in Canada and the U.S. and wintering in Mexico and Central America. However, it is completely absent throughout most of the Southwest. They live in many habitats, such as prairies, pine forests, and wetlands, preferring to skulk through dense, tangled vegetation.

4. Lesser Goldfinch

lesser goldfinch chirping in tree

The lesser goldfinch averages around four inches in length and is about the same size as the American goldfinch.

©iStock.com/Sunil Singh

The lesser goldfinch is an inhabitant of scrubby habitats of the West. Most populations live permanently along the west coast and the Southwest, while others breed in more northern regions (Colorado, Idaho, etc.) and winter in Mexico. There are also year-round residents in Central and South America. They like patchy, open areas, like thickets, scrubland, weedy fields, and forest clearings. They are about the same size as the American goldfinch but feature duller plumage in some locations near the coast. Males have glossy black plumage above and bright yellow below with black heads.

5. Scott’s Oriole

Scott's oriole

Scott’s oriole lives in arid mountains, foothills, and deserts, where their bright yellow feathers stand out against the stark neutral background.

©Agami Photo Agency/Shutterstock.com

Scott’s oriole is a vividly contrasting bird of the dry Southwest. They are long and slender with black heads, backs, wings, and chests, and yellow undersides. They also have white barring on their wings. This species spends its springs and summers in the Southwestern United States and winters in Mexico. They live in arid mountains, foothills, and deserts, where their bright yellow feathers stand out against the stark neutral background. Scott’s oriole is often associated with yucca, where it forages and weaves its nests.

6. Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark, Meadowlark, Animal Wildlife, Horizontal, Mouth Open

The eastern meadowlark lives in prairies, pastures, grasslands, and fields, where they stalk thick vegetation and nest on the ground.

©iStock.com/passion4nature

Many black and white birds live in the West, but the eastern meadowlark adorns grasslands and farms throughout most of the eastern half of the United States. They stay in their environments year-round, except for the very northern populations that move south for winter. You can find them in prairies, pastures, grasslands, and fields, where they stalk thick vegetation and nest on the ground. You can identify them by their streaky buff, black, and reddish-brown upperparts, and bright yellow underparts. They also have very distinctive black V shapes across their chests.

7. Evening Grosbeak

Male and Female Evening Grosbeak

Evening grosbeaks inhabit mature coniferous forests but will also stop by urban and suburban areas.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

The evening grosbeak is a wintering bird throughout most of the United States. They add splashes of bright color to winter backgrounds. Some populations, especially those in the Northwest and Canada, stay permanently in their environments. They inhabit mature coniferous forests but will also stop by urban and suburban areas. These large finches have thick, conical bills and a mix of gray, black, white, and yellow plumage. Look for their prominent white wing patches and yellow stripes above their eyes.  

8. Hooded Warbler

hooded warbler

Hooded warblers live in the dense understory of mature deciduous forests.

©Agami Photo Agency/Shutterstock.com

The hooded warbler is easy to identify with its olive-yellow and gray plumage and yellow faces with black hoods and throats. This bird breeds in eastern forests in the United States and migrates across the Gulf of Mexico before reaching its wintering grounds in Central America. They live in the dense understory of mature deciduous forests. You can also find them in lowland tropical forests in Central and South America.

9. Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler

With chestnut-colored backs, black streaks, and bright yellow throughout, prairie warblers are a sight.

©Jay Gao/Shutterstock.com

Look for the streaky yellow prairie warbler in scrubby forests of the Southeastern U.S. After spending their summers in the hot, humid Southeast, they make their way to the West Indies for the winter. However, there are permanent residents in Florida. They live in the open canopies of shrubby, second-growth forests, except for the Florida subspecies, which inhabit mangrove forests. Males are bright yellow with heavy black streaking and chestnut patches on their backs. They also have black half-circles under their eyes. They are small warblers with thin bills and long, slender tails.

10. Western Tanager

Western Tanager on tree branch

The western tanager is a medium-sized songbird. Look for their bright orange faces, yellow bodies, and black wings.

©Laura Mountainspring/Shutterstock.com

Western tanagers look like flashes of orange and yellow flames as they flit around open woods. You will find this species in the western half of the United States and Canada during spring and summer and in Mexico and Central America during winter. Listen for their low chuckles in open coniferous woodlands, where they like to stay hidden in the canopy. However, when you do spot one they are unmistakable. Look for their bright orange faces, yellow bodies, and black wings.

11. Wilson’s Warbler

Wilson's warbler

Wilson’s warblers have yellow bodies and prominent black caps, giving them the appearance of a perfect patch of black hair on their heads.

©iStock.com/Leon Gin

The Wilson’s warbler is another black and yellow bird that’s easy to identify. They have yellow bodies, streaky gray wings, and prominent black caps, giving them the appearance of having a perfect patch of black hair on their heads. They breed in Canada and migrate throughout the United States before reaching their wintering spot in Mexico and Central America. You will find these birds in willow and shrubby thickets and forest edges or openings. They may even inhabit high-elevation cloud forests in their wintering habitats.

Summary of 11 Beautiful Yellow and Black Birds

Here’s a recap of the 11 birds with lovely yellow and black colorations that we took a look at.

NumberBirdAppearance
1American GoldfinchBright yellow plumage, black forehead, black wings with light white barring
2Yellow-Headed BlackbirdAll-black body, golden yellow head
3Common YellowthroatOlive with bright yellow throat and breast; black eye mask is offset by a blurry white line that separates face from head
4Lesser GoldfinchGlossy black plumage above and bright yellow below; black head
5Scott’s OrioleBlack head, back, wings, and chest; yellow underside; white barring on wings
6Eastern MeadowlarkStreaky buff, black, and reddish-brown upperpart; bright yellow underpart; distinctive black V shape across chest
7Evening GrosbeakMix of gray, black, white, and yellow plumage; prominent white wing patches; yellow stripes above eyes
8Hooded WarblerOlive-yellow and gray plumage; yellow face; black hood and throat
9Prairie WarblerMales are bright yellow with heavy black streaking and chestnut patches on their backs. They also have black half-circles under their eyes.
10Western TanagerBright orange face, yellow body, black wings
11Wilson’s WarblerYellow body, streaky gray wings, prominent black caps

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/impr2003


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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