The southeastern Texas coast bears witness to thousands of migrant songbirds every spring. Everything from cuckoos to vireos and grosbeaks make landfall on the coast and the birding can be incredible. Fall is also great for migration in southern Texas and I see plenty of warblers every time I head into the field.

Yellow seems to be a common color scheme and some of those yellow-colored warblers can look quite similar to each other. The following species are just a handful of the yellowish warblers that brighten the foliage during migration in the Lower Rio Grande Valley:

The Wilson’s Warbler is one of the most common wintering species in the valley. Although these little yellow sprites breed in much colder montane and boreal habitats in the Rockies and Canada, they seem to love the hot, subtropical brushlands of southern Texas during the winter.

This male Wilson’s Warbler can be told by its smart, black cap and lack of yellow spots in the tail.

The Prothonotary Warbler has also been known as the “Golden Swamp Warbler” on account of its rich yellow plumage and preference for wooded swamps. In southern Texas, it can be seen in a variety of habitats as it migrates through but seems to be most common in wet thickets and wetlands. Notice the bluish-gray wings and white vent.

Prothonotary Warbler.

The Hooded Warbler is one of the most striking warblers to frequent the valley. A common breeding bird in forested areas of the eastern United States, quite a few pass through southern Texas during migration. While the black hood of the male makes it easy to identify, the white spots in the tail may be the most reliable field mark to identify the “hoodless” female.

A gorgeous male Hooded Warbler.

The Orange-crowned Warbler is one of the most common wintering warblers in southern Texas. Make spishing sounds near just about any brushy habitat and one or two come out of the bushes.

Note the yellowish undertail coverts and grayish head of this Orange-crowned Warbler.

Another common wintering species is the Yellow-rumped Warbler. The prominant yellow rump makes it much easier to identify than other warbler species.

You can see why Yellow-rumped Warblers are often called “butterbutts” by birders.

Beautiful little Northern Parulas also migrate through southern Texas. While most visiting birdwatchers hope to catch a glimpse of a Tropical Parula, Northerns are much more common.

The white crescents above and below the eyes and the breast band let you know that this is a Northern Parula and not a Tropical Parula.

These are just a few of the yellowish-colored warblers that make their way to southern Texas. Once spring comes, I hope to obtain and show images of other beautiful warbler species.

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