7 Stunning Yellow and Black Birds [It’s Not a Bumblebee!]

yellow and black birds

As you travel through the U.S. and even parts of Canada, you will find an array of birds. You’ll find birds of all shapes, sizes, and – yes – even colors. 

When it comes to stunning color combos, few stand out as much as our feathered friends that are yellow and black. 

If you love birdwatching or want to see how many black and yellow birds are in your backyard, you’ve landed in the right place. Here you can learn about some of the most popular and beautiful black and yellow birds and learn where they live and can be spotted for all the novice or experienced birdwatchers out there.  

Be sure to keep note of the features in the bird species here as they will help you know when you find them. 

The Lesser Goldfinch

the lesser goldfinch

This small bird lives in the Southwest and Western regions of North America. It is mainly found in mountainous areas, and concentrated populations live in Arizona and California. 

However, you may also spot the Lesser Goldfinch in parts of Utah, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. This species of yellow and black birds most commonly travel in groups of five or six birds. 

The Lesser Goldfinches have characteristics similar to the American Goldfinches, including their appearance. You may even mistake each other for their similar physical traits. 

While this is true, the Lesser Goldfinches beak is slightly smaller, and they have a shorter wingspan. Additionally, the “black” on the Lesser Goldfinch has an olive hue. 

Evening Grosbeak

evening grosbeak

The Evening Grosbeak is a stockier bird in size and stature than the American and Lesser Goldfinch. It has a strong yet stumpy bill and is found throughout the U.S.

 It’s the males who have the sunflower yellow bodies, and (not surprisingly) sunflowers are a favorite snack of this avian species. If you want to attract the Evening Grosbeak to your garden, plant some sunny flowers in late spring. 

The rest of the male’s body features dark black tail feathers and wings. Females and immature males have gray bodies with few yellow patches and black and white mottled wings. 

Unfortunately, the rapid decline of this species across the country has resulted in it being classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. You will commonly see these sunny birds in northern coniferous forests and higher altitudes, as this is their preferred habitat. 

Common Yellowthroat

common yellowthroat

A Common Yellowthroat is a small songbird with brownish coloring on the back, bright yellow underneath, and long tails. The brightness of the yellow features depends on the geographic region where they live, and there is often olive coloring under them. 

This bird species spend the summer breeding throughout most of North America, except in northern Canada and Alaska. Some Common Yellowthroat species will stay in the Pacific Southwest and Gulf Coast all year. 

You can see this species of yellow and black birds in the summer and spring, mostly in wetland or marshy areas and brushy fields. They enjoy living in tangled, thick vegetation. 

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

golden-crowned kinglet

The Golden-Crowned Kinglet is a small songbird that tends to be extremely secretive. This species is also one of North America’s smallest birds. 

It has gray to olive-green upper parts, an orange crown patch on the head, a whitish breast, and yellow and black edges around the head. It also has a black bill and white eyebrows. 

You can commonly see this bird in the winter months as a visitor from Canada and the northern U.S. 

This bird species can be found in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains. It lives as far north as southern Canada and as far south as Costa Rico. 

It prefers to live in moist and deciduous areas. However, their preferred living environment makes them difficult to spot. 

If you are patient, you may find one or two hiding in the leaves at the top of the tree branches. During winter, the birds spend tie high in coniferous trees, and when warmer weather moves in, they tend to descend into urban areas and lower forests to eat the delicious insects.  

Scott’s Oriole

scott's oriole

You can find the Scott’s Oriole in desert habitats where it tends to stay dry. They are found close to steep mountain slopes and tend to be close to the Yuccas. 

It’s here that they spend time foraging for nectar and the insects that live there. Most Scott’s Oriole species will construct nests from living Yucca leaves and hang below them. 

The bird will also eat fruit when it is available. 

The males of the species have bright yellow feathers and inky black heads. They also have black tails and wing feathers with some white patches. 

Females have striking yellow bodies (unlike many other species on this list) but tend to have olive green backs, heads, and wings. The immature birds are duller and usually have mottled patterns on their back. 

Eastern Meadowlark

eastern meadowlark

An Eastern Meadowlark is a medium-sized and stocky songbird. This bird species is recognized by its long spear-shaped bill and short tail. 

It has a bright yellow underside and a black “V” across its chest. They have mainly black and brown spots and streaks on their body. 

The Eastern Meadowlark is like the Western Meadowlark in appearance and can be changeling to tell the two apart. These two species of yellow and black birds have many of the same physical characteristics, but you will notice subtle differences when you look closer. 

The colors on the Eastern Meadowlark are much richer, and they have a whitish malar stripe. 

You will see these birds most frequently during the winter months in the eastern part of North America. It’s not uncommon to see up to 200 Eastern Meadowlarks foraging in fields for grains and seeds. 

If you want to encourage Eastern Meadowlark to spend time in your backyard, consider putting cracked corn and sunflower seeds in your yard. 

Prairie Warbler

prairie warbler

This is another small songbird with olive green on its back and yellow on its belly and throat. There are noticeable black streaks on their sides and dark semicircles under the eyes. 

The female of the species is duller, which helps them hide from potential predators. 

It breeds throughout the eastern and southeastern states and spends the winter months in Florida, the Caribbean, and some of the coastal parts of Central America. 

If you see this species in Florida during times other than the winter, it is a subspecies that is somewhat bigger than the actual Prairie Warbler. 

Even though the bird is called the “prairie” warbler, it lives in forests and fields. 

Common Questions About Yellow and Black Birds

Birdwatching is a fun activity. You never know what you may see, and as you travel to new areas, you encounter new species of birds. 

If you have an inquisitive mind or just like fun facts, these questions (and answers) are right up your alley!

What makes yellow birds yellow?

Have you ever wondered what creates the sunny-looking feathers on yellow birds? It’s caused by carotenoids in the foods they eat

Carotenoids are pigments produced in plants, and when birds eat the plant’s seeds, berries, or insects that have eaten these plant materials, it gets into their system, creating yellow coloring. 

It’s worth noting that carotenoids are fat-soluble substances. Because of this, they are processed in the bird’s liver. 

Once processed, the carotenoids are transported through the bloodstream and eventually left in the feather follicles. Once in the follicles, they will crystallize and create various colors, determined by whether they mix with other pigments. 

Pure carotenoids will create red, orange, or yellow colors. However, if the carotenoids are mixed with melanin pigments, then green shades are produced. 

Why are birds’ wings black?

Like the mechanisms that create the yellow coloring in many birds, other pigments create the black color. The main source of this is melanin, which creates brown, gray, and black tones. 

Completely black feathers contain melanin in the cortex and core of the bird’s feathers. 

There are a few theories regarding why black coloration occurs in a bird’s wings. Some of these include:

Finding Yellow and Black Birds in Your Own Backyard

As you can see from the information here, there are more than a few yellow and black birds you can see throughout the country. If you want to keep track of all the species you see, make sure to take pictures or record them in a journal. 

There’s no question that birdwatching is a fun and exciting activity. Now that you know some of the black and yellow species in your area, you can begin seeking them out, where they live. 

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