Yellow-breasted Chat

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga petechia

Yellow-breasted Chat

The Yellow-breasted Chat has neither the appearance nor the behavior of any members of its family, and its taxonomic relationship with the rest of the wood- warbler species is still a matter of dispute. But recent genetic researches corroborate evidence that this bird is a wood-warbler.

It is the largest warbler, measuring about 7.1 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9.8 inches and weight of 23 - 31 grams.

It has long olive-green tail, thick, short and black bill, white spectacles and does not have wing bars or tail patches.

Males have black lores. Throat and breast are bright yellow. Belly is white, as undertail too. Upperparts are olive-green. Eyes are dark brown, with two white crescents, above and below eye. A white strip is above the black lore, and a white long patch is found on the cheek, below the black lore. Legs and feet are blackish.

Females are similar, but with gray lores in breeding season.

Immatures have dusky spotting on throat and breast.

CALL: They have a variety of calls, including a distinctive harsh scolding. Females also make a gargling growl when disturbed at the nest.
Wintering males and females give a “chuck” call to defend winter territories.

SONG: A jumble of harsh, chattering clucks, rattles, clear whistles, squawks, mews, gurgles and pops, sometimes given in hovering display flight.
Male may sing at any time of the day, but also in the middle on the night.

Feeds on small invertebrates, insects (bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers and beetles) during breeding season, and it feeds mainly on fruit in late summer (strawberries, blackberries and grapes).

Inhabits in dense thickets and bush, in dry and open habitats, around wood edges, riparian areas, and in overgrown clearing resulting of vegetative growth in forest opening, created by storms and fire, or abandoned fields.

Breeds across eastern United States and Southern Canada, from Iowa to New York; southward to Texas and Northern Florida.

Winters in Mexico and Central America.

The female builds a bulky cup of grasses, leaves, bark strips, and weed stems lined with fine grasses, wiry plant stems, pine needles, and sometimes roots and hair.

She lays 3 - 5 white or creamy, smooth and glossy eggs, speckled with reddish or purple. She incubates them for about 11 - 12 days.


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