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Number of species: 79

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Yellow-rumped Warbler - Setophaga coronata

Yellow-rumped Warbler has a partial preformative molt and partial prealternate molts that typically includes some of the greater coverts. Sex can generally be differentiated by plumage, although less reliably so for FCF (HY/SY) individuals, some of which are best left as sex unknown.

The two subspecies of Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's Warbler, S.c. auduboni; Myrtle Warbler, S.c. coronata) are generally separable by plumage; guidelines for age and sex determination are believed to be largely applicable to both.

Quick tips

  • Examine the primary coverts - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) individuals, they are somewhat tapered and brownish with minimal edging, contrasting (especially by spring) with the darker greater coverts; on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) individuals, they are more rounded and darker with distinct grayish edging.
  • Carefully consider the greater coverts - in basic plumage, the presence of a molt limit between darker inner feathers and unreplaced paler outer feathers indicates FCF (HY/SY), but note that uniformly fresh greater coverts occur in both DCB (AHY/ASY) and most FCF (HY/SY) birds. In alternate plumage, beware that most individuals have a mix of formative/basic and alternate feathers in the greater coverts; the only safe indicator for FCA (SY) is the presence of three generations of feathers among the greater coverts, with the outermost feather(s) notably older and duller than the others.
  • Look at the back - it is bluish-gray on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) males (sometimes with a bit of brown in basic plumage), a mix of brown and blue-gray on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) females and FCF/FCA (HY/SY) males, and mostly brownish on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) females.
  • Examine the uppertail coverts - they have broad black centres with mostly blue edging on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) males, moderately large black centres with a mix of brown and blue edging on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) females and FCF/FCA (HY/SY) males, and narrow black centres with mostly brown edging on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) females.
  • Check the shape of the outer rectrices - on FCF/FCA (HY/SY) birds they are sometimes relatively narrow and pointed, while on DCB/DCA (AHY/ASY) birds they tend to be broader and more rounded, but relatively many intermediates occur.

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.

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

Individuals not in molt

FCJ - (HY: May - August)
Brownish above with fairly heavy streaking below
No images available yet
FCF - (HY: June - December; SY January - April)
Primary coverts relatively narrow and brownish with little or no edging, contrasting with dark gray greater coverts; back largely brownish (F) or mix of brown and blue-gray (M); uppertail coverts with narrow black centres and mostly brown edging (F) or moderately large black centres and a mix of brown and blue edging (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2640-14824-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2558.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-14824-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2556.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-14824-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2557.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24831-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2549.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24831-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2547.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24831-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2548.jpg
FCA - (SY: March - September)
Primary coverts relatively narrow and brownish with little or no edging, contrasting with dark gray greater coverts; grayish auricular and crown (F) or blackish auricular and yellow crown (M); back largely brownish (F) or mix of brown and blue-gray (M); uppertail coverts with narrow black centres and mostly brown edging (F) or moderately large black centres and a mix of brown and blue edging (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-25946-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2534.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-25946-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2532.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-25946-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2533.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16007-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2528.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16007-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2526.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-16007-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2527.jpg
DCB - (AHY: July - December; ASY January - April)
Primary coverts relatively broad and grayish with bluish edging, only slightly paler than greater coverts; back largely bluish gray (M) or with some brown mixed in (F); uppertail coverts with moderately large black centres and a mix of brown and blue edging (F) or broad black centres and mostly blue edging (M)
M
Thumbnail - MG2-2640-15374-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2573.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-15374-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2571.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-15374-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2572.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2640-14890-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2564.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-14890-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2562.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-14890-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2563.jpg
DCA - (ASY: March - September)
Primary coverts relatively broad and grayish with bluish edging, only slightly paler than greater coverts; gray auricular and crown (F) or black auricular and yellow crown (M); back largely bluish gray (M) or with some brown mixed in (F); uppertail coverts with moderately large black centres and a mix of brown and blue edging (F) or broad black centres and mostly blue edging (M)
M
Thumbnail - MH3-2500-65253-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-418.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2500-65253-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-419.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2500-65253-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-420.jpg
F
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-41153-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2543.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-41153-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2541.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-41153-Setophaga_coronata_AOU_7_52-2542.jpg

Individuals in active molt

FPJ - (HY: May - August)
Similar to FCJ; some natal down remaining and/or juvenile flight feathers still growing in
No images available yet
FPF - (HY: June - September)
Similar to FCF; median and most to all greater coverts and sometimes the greater alula being replaced
No images available yet
FPA - (HY: December - December; SY January - May)
Similar to FCA; head and body feathers, and usually a few to most greater coverts being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: July - 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: July - September)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained primaries, secondaries, and/or primary coverts either distinctly adult (generally gray, less worn) or intermediate
No images available yet
DPA - (AHY: December - December; ASY January - May)
Similar to DCA; head and body feathers, and usually a few to all greater coverts being replaced
No images available yet

Applicable unknown plumage/age classes

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

Number of species: 79

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