Nests & Eggs: Yellow-Breasted Chat

Plate 46: Yellow-Breasted Chat

Icteria virens

Though he prefers to hide in thickets and shrubs, his loud voice gives him away.

The Yellow-breasted Chat is not only the largest, but the most unwarbler-like of this colorful family. If you live near thickets of dense shrubbery, where brier tangles and brushy, low bushes grow in profusion, there you will find this bird. He prefers low, damp ground but does not overlook similar habitat on dry hillsides. His loud and varied song will let you know when he arrives. Each series of notes is followed by a long pause, and then another series, but on an entirely different pitch; clear-whistled notes, low grating tones, caws or reed-like tones all find a place in this bird’s song.

When you invade his territory, you will find he is elusive, but a little patient waiting on your part will bring him out. Then you can check the olive-brown back and rich, lemon-yellow breast fading to white beneath the tail. The white line just above the eye combines with an eye ring, as if he were wearing spectacles. You might even see the short, stout bill or the rounded wings. Its long tail gives this bird a length of 7½ inches. He might entertain you with his clown-like antics by fluttering into the air with his head down and feet dangling, but accompanied by some of his sweetest music.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol. 2
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the yellow-breasted chat story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XLVI: Yellow-Breasted Chat, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the yellow-breasted chat at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The yellow-breasted chat is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXV. Three Cousins Quite Unlike.

Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Yellow-Breasted Chat Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Yellow-Breasted Chat
Bird picture for notebook.

Yellow-Breasted Chat Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

Create a website or blog at