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Overview

Brief Summary

Icteria virens

A large (7 inches), strangely-shaped wood warbler, the Yellow-breasted Chat is most easily identified by its large size, olive-green back, yellow breast and throat, and white eye-ring. Other field marks include a long tail, thick bill, and black legs. Male and female Yellow-breasted Chats are similar to one another in all seasons. The Yellow-breasted Chat breeds in the east-central United States and southern Canada from southern Ontario south to northern Florida and west to Texas. This species also breeds more locally in the western United States and Canada, particularly in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah. In winter, most Yellow-breasted Chats migrate south to the southern half of Mexico and Central America, although a small number winters in the southern U.S. Yellow-breasted Chats breed along the edges of deciduous or evergreen forests in areas with thickets or low shrubs. During the winter, this species inhabits similar areas along the edges of tropical forests. Yellow-breasted Chats primarily eat insects and other invertebrates, but may also eat fruits and berries when available, particularly during the winter. Due to this species’ preference for habitat with shrubs and other low vegetation, Yellow-breasted Chats are more often heard than seen. Birdwatchers may listen for this species’ song, a strange jumble of whistling notes interspersed with harsher calls, or may look for it moving through the vegetation while foraging for insect prey. Yellow-breasted Chats are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

Threat Status: Least Concern

  • Eckerle, Kevin P. and Charles F. Thompson. 2001. Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/575
  • Icteria virens. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
  • Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • eBird Range Map - Yellow-breasted Chat. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: southern British Columbia across southern Canada and the northern U.S. to southern Ontario and central New York, south to southern Baja California, to Sinaloa on Pacific slope, to Zacatecas in interior over plateau, to southern Tamaulipas on Atlantic slope, and to Gulf Coast and northern Florida (AOU 1998). See Cadman and Page (1994) for further details on distribution on Canada. NON-BREEDING: southern Baja California, southern Sinaloa, southern Texas, southern Louisiana, and southern Florida south (rarely north to Oregon, Great Lakes, New York, and New England) to western Panama (AOU 1998).

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 19 cm

Weight: 26 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: BREEDING: Second growth, shrubby old pastures, thickets, bushy areas, scrub, woodland undergrowth, and fence rows, including low wet places near streams, pond edges, or swamps; thickets with few tall trees; early successional stages of forest regeneration; commonly in sites close to human habitation. Nests in bushes, brier tangles, vines, and low trees, generally in dense vegetation less than 2 m above ground. NON-BREEDING: In winter, establishes territories in young second-growth forest and scrub (Dennis 1958, Thompson and Nolan 1973, Morse 1989).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Arrives in southern winter range mid- to late September, departs by late April (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Arrives in northern breeding range mainly in late May or early June (early May in Ontario). Departs many breeding areas mainly in July and August, with significant numbers wandering northward prior to migrating southward to winter range; some linger in the north into late fall or sometimes early winter.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Summer: eats mostly insects gleaned from foliage and, in late summer, also eats small fruits. Winter: gleans foliage for insects and spiders, notably fond of fruit (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Fairly common in many areas. Population estimates made in the early 1990s for Canada: fewer than 50 breeding pairs in British Columbia, a few thousand pairs in Saskatchewan, 1000-5000 pairs in Alberta, around 50 pairs in Ontario (Cadman and Page, 1994 COSEWIC report).

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General Ecology

In southern Indiana, density was 5-8 breeding males per 18 ha of upland deciduous scrub, plus 2-5 territorial nonbreeding males; territory size averaged 1.24 ha (about 3 acres); very few returned to study area in years following first capture; study area was regarded as unfavorable for chats (Thompson and Nolan 1973). Based on other warblers, annual mortality rate probably is 30-60% in adults, 60-90% in post-fledging young (Thompson and Nolan 1973). NON-BREEDING: Sedentary, solitary during winter (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Diurnal, though males may sing at night during the breeding season.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 8.9 years (wild)
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Reproduction

In southern British Columbia, most clutches are initiated from mid-May to late June (mainly early to mid-June) (Cannings et al. 1987). Nests with eggs occur primarily in June in Ontario, late May to mid-July in New York (Bull 1974). Some clutches are produced before May 15 in Ohio (Peterjohn and Rice 1991). Clutch size is usually 3-5. Incubation, by the female, lasts 11-15 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 8-11 days (generally by mid-July in southern British Columbia and Alberta, as early as late June in Ontario and New York, as early as early June in Ohio). Sexually mature in one year. In southern Indiana, nests begun in late June and July were more successful than were nests begun earlier; nearly all nest failures were attributed to predators (Thompson and Nolan 1973).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Icteria virens

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTCCTCATCCGAGCAGNNNNNNNCCAACCTGGAGCCCTCCTAGGAGACGACCAAGTTTACAACGTAGTCGTCACAGCCCATGCTTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATACCAATCATAATTGGAGGCTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCTCTAATAATCGGAGCCCCAGACATAGCGTTCCCACGTATGAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTCCCACCATCCTTTCTCCTTCTTTTAGCATCCTCCACAGTAGAAGCAGGCGCAGGTACCGGCTGAACAGTGTACCCCCCACTAGCCGGCAACCTAGCCCACGCTGGAGCCTCAGTTGACCTTGCAATCTTCTCCCTACACCTAGCCGGTATCTCTTCAATCCTCGGAGCCATTAACTTCATCACAACTGCAATCAATATAAAACCCCCAGCCCTATCACAATATCAAACCCCCCTGTTTGTTTGATCAGTTCTAATCACCGCAGTTCTTCTACTCCTATCCCTCCCAGTCCTTGCTGCAGGAATCACAATACTTCTCACAGACCGCAATCTCAACACCACATTCTTTGACCCAGCTGGAGNAGGGGACCCAGTGCTGTACCAGCACCTTTTCTGATTCTTTGGNCACCCAGAAGTATACATCCTAATCCTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Icteria virens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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