Saturday, August 10, 2013

Yellow-breasted Chat, A Prairie Staple

During the summer, I work the nearby natural prairie a lot. Most of my work there is with the continuous bloom of wildflowers, along with the associated butterflies and insects that visit them. But this year, I have been more in touch with another prairie inhabitant ... the Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens). This bird is a large bird, about 7-inches long, and is our largest wood warbler. It's behavior is a lot like a thrasher or catbird, hiding in shrubby bushes and making a series of hoots, whistles, clucks, gurgles, and other strange noises.

The yellow-breasted chat has a bright yellow throat and breast that contrasts with it's white belly and olive back. I had not seen these unique birds before this summer, although they likely were there. I first learned of their local population as a I sat quietly one morning, partially hidden by the large prairie shrubs. Since then, I regularly will make trips to this prairie just to photograph these beauties.

Here are a few of the images I've collected this year:

This post was authored by Jim Braswell. To see more of Jim's work, check out his Show-Me Nature Photography website.


  1. It sounds like a most enjoyable experience, and some nice photos to show for it.

  2. Wonderful photographs of the chats, Jim! I love their markings. I've only had the pleasure of seeing one briefly, so it's especially nice to view your terrific images.