English  | Français  | Español
Lists:  CAN        
Number of species: 79

Select a species:

  
 
:   Clear  

Yellow Warbler - Setophaga petechia

Yellow Warbler has a partial preformative molt, and partial to incomplete prealternate molts that include some to all greater coverts and tertials. Once beyond formative plumage, sex can usually be determined by plumage, but appearance can vary considerably among individuals, and it is best to consider multiple features in determining both sex and age.

Quick tips

  • Check the primary coverts - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they have minimal edging and are often narrow, pointed, and quite dull and abraded by spring, while on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they have yellow edging and are broader, fairly rounded, and relatively fresh.
  • Check the secondaries - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they are brownish with little to no yellow edging, while on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they have yellow edging similar to the primary coverts (note that this criterion is most useful in spring, as the differences in fall can be slight).
  • Check the shape of the outer rectrices - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they are fairly pointed and often abraded, while on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they are broader, fairly rounded, and more likely to remain fresh; note that colour pattern can be rather variable and should not be considered reliable except in extreme cases.
  • Only after age has been determined, use breast streaks to help identify sex - DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) males have extensive reddish-brown streaking, FCA (SY) males and DCA (ASY) females tend to have finer, less extensive streaking, and FCF (HY) males, DCB (AHY) females, and FCF/FCA (HY/SY) females have minimal streaking.

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory (2016). Last updated by Marcel Gahbauer (Mar 2022)

The molt categories displayed below may be filtered by month.

    Clear

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.

Individuals not in molt

FCJ - (HY: May - August)
Largely grayish aside from some yellow on the wing and tail
No images available yet
FCF - (HY: June - December; SY January - March)
Primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries fairly narrow and dull, with little or no yellowish edging; rectrices usually somewhat narrow and pointed; breast generally lacking streaks (F) or with a few faint reddish streaks (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16740-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2849.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16740-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2847.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16740-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2848.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65528-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2843.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65528-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2841.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65528-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2842.jpg
FCA - (SY: January - August)
Primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries brownish, contrasting markedly with yellow-edged greater coverts; rectrices usually somewhat narrow and pointed; breast with faint (F) or moderately heavy reddish streaking (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43166-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2813.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43166-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2811.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-43166-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2812.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16031-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2822.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16031-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2820.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16031-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2821.jpg
DCB - (AHY: June - December; ASY January - March)
Primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries fairly dark, with distinct yellow edging; rectrices usually somewhat broad and rounded; breast with few to no (F) or fairly distinct reddish streaks (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16757-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2864.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16757-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2862.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16757-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2863.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2400-71045-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2855.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2400-71045-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2853.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2400-71045-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2854.jpg
DCA - (ASY: January - August)
Primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries fairly dark, with distinct yellow edging; rectrices usually somewhat broad and rounded; breast with moderate (F) to heavy reddish streaking (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65246-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2828.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65246-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2826.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2500-65246-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2827.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16647-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2834.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16647-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2832.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16647-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2833.jpg

Individuals in active molt

FPJ - (HY: May - July)
Similar to FCJ; some natal down remaining and/or juvenile flight feathers still growing in
U
Thumbnail - MG2-2430-42697-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2873.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2430-42697-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2871.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2430-42697-Setophaga_petechia_AOU_7_52-2872.jpg
FPF - (HY: May - September)
Similar to FCF; median coverts, some to all greater coverts, greater alula, and up to all tertials being replaced
No images available yet
FPA - (HY: December - December; SY January - April)
Similar to FCA; some to all greater coverts and usually some to all tertials being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: June - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained juvenile primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts distinctly pale brownish and very worn
No images available yet
DPB - (AHY: June - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts either distinctly adult (generally grayish, less worn) or intermediate
No images available yet
DPA - (AHY: December - December; ASY January - April)
Similar to DCA; most to all greater coverts and most to all tertials being replaced
No images available yet

Applicable unknown plumage/age classes

Molt classes Age Months Key traits
M-FPF / UPU (FPF, SPB, DPB) U June - September Undergoing preformative or prebasic molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCF / UCU (FCF, SCB, DCB) U/AHY June - March In formative or basic plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FPA / UPA (FPA, DPA) AHY December - April Undergoing prealternate molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCA / UCA (FCA, DCA) AHY January - August In alternate plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable

Number of species: 79

Select a species: