About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Mysterious yellow bird with black wings and bill

I have taken photos of this bird on a couple different years in my back yard when they migrate through but I don't know what he is.  He is always with a group of finches,,,,,,Would you possibly know what he is?

Thank you for your question. My first thought is an escaped domestic canary or finch from someone’s house. 

Then I thought it might be an American Goldfinch that is expressing abnormal feather pigmentation. The lack of black pigments is called partial amelanism. When birds lack most or all of the melanin pigments usually present in their feathers, the normally hidden yellow carotenoid pigments are revealed fully.

Would you like me to post the pictures to get more thoughts?
Thanks for the reply.  I forgot to tell you that I am located in Blytheville, Arkansas and that we have seen this bird for 2 years. The first year was in a March snowstorm and is not here all the time but only a couple times a year.  And yes, I would love for you to post it.  Thanks again, Roy
I want to thank everyone for their responses. I've put up a side by side comparison to see if that helps. I think I'm still going with funny colored goldfinch for now.
 
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10 comments:

MJ said...

Looks like a Yellow Warbler.

VetVoyeur said...

I'll bet it's a Goldfinch, it doesn't have the streaking usually seen on yellow warblers.

MJ said...

The streaking on the female Yellow Warbler is much less visible and sometimes non-existent (first year birds are also nearly streakless). Only male American Goldfinch are this yellow and the male has a black patch on its head. Also, not the beak of a finch - too small.

Dwayne Biggar said...

It's eating nyjer that's a big clue, it has the same bill as the above photo of the winter American Goldfinch. I'd say it's a leukistic Goldfinch, there're plenty of similar photos online.

Mari Ann Lisenbe said...

Not sure what it is... but we had one at our bird bath this morning - near Houston, TX

Montana Jan said...

I saw a bird this color singing its heart out on our non-leafed-out poplar tree last Sunday in my backyard in Montana. It looked about 4 inches long. No black on its head that I could see, just on its wings. Its size and song reminded me of a canary. A goldfinch? Warbler? Beautiful song, ongoing for three or four minutes.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this mystery bird in our back yard 5 minutes ago. Pale yellow all over with black in its wings and a black beak. Woodbridge, VA

Denise said...

I have one at my bird feeder and I live in Tunkhannock, PA. Actually there are two but according to one of the comments listed above one of them could be a male American Goldfitch. They are beautiful birds and love to hang out for quite some time.

MorrisCountyNJ said...

I had a similar bird in my yard today, and I saw one this summer down in the Great Swamp. Too big to be a goldfinch. It's the size of a yellow warbler. The birds I'm seeing have bold black wings and black tails. No black cap and no white wing bars. Beak is pink and longer than a finch's - not conical. I'm guessing it's some kind of warbler. Today's bird was flying among the jewelweed plants and winterberry shrubs, eating seeds and berries. Goldfinches in my yard don't fly like that.

Anonymous said...

I'm in South Florida and we have this same bird in our back yard. Also no black on it's head, just the wings, and often the yellow is almost orange colored.