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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Geothlypis trichas
POPULATION: 81 million
TREND: Slight decline
HABITAT: Breeds in thick vegetation, especially in marshy areas. Winters in a wide variety of shrubby habitats.
The Common Yellowthroat is a warbler that behaves more like a wren: bouncing through thick, low vegetation and reeds, rarely far above the ground, and heard more often than seen. A quick glimpse of this skulker reveals a short-winged, short-tailed bird, often with a jauntily cocked tail. The male is easily identified by its black “bandit” mask.
Common Yellowthroat was one of the earliest species of birds to be described from the New World. It was initially dubbed the Maryland Yellowthroat, since it was first found in that state. Its genus name, Geothlypis, means “earth finch,” an apt description of its ground-dwelling habits.