Medium-sized song bird. The male is a showy yellow and black bird with a red head. The back, scapulars, wings, and tail are black. Rump, uppertail-coverts, hindneck, and underparts are bright yellow. Adult female has olive-green upperparts becoming grayish on back and scapular and yellowish on rump and uppertail-coverts. Her underparts vary from bright yellow to grayish white with yellow. Wings are grayish with 2 yellowish-white wing bars. In brighter females the anterior portion of the head may be tinged with red (Hudon 1999).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
eBird Occurrence Map
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In the Bozeman area, migration periods are May 26 to June 18 and August 27 to September 25, with peaks on June 9 and September 6.
Favors open woodlands, but occasionally extends into fairly dense forests. During migration, frequents a wide variety of forest, woodland, scrub and partly open habitats and various human-made environments such as orchards, stands of trees in suburban areas, parks, and gardens (Hudon 1999).
Feeds predominantly on insects during the breeding season, but it also incorporates fruits and berries in its diet whenever it can.
One brood per year. Often nests in open areas. The nest tree is usually located where the canopy is more open, such as old road edges, meadow edges. The nest is a loosely woven, open, flat bowl with small cavity. Clutch size is 3 to 5 eggs. (Hudon 1999). Statewide, nests from June to mid-July.