18 January 2021
American yellow warblers breed in most of North America from the tundra southwards, except for the far Southwest and the Gulf of Mexico coast. American yellow warblers winter to the south of their breeding range, from southern California to the Amazon region, Bolivia and Peru. The mangrove and golden warblers occur to the south of it, to the northern reaches of the Andes.
American Yellow Warblers arrive in their breeding range in late spring – generally about April/May – and move to winter quarters again starting as early as July, as soon as the young are fledged. Most, however, stay a bit longer; by the end of August, the bulk of the northern populations has moved south, though some may linger almost until fall. At least in northern Ohio, yellow warblers do not linger, leaving as they did 100 years ago.
The breeding habitat of American yellow warblers is typically riparian or otherwise moist land with ample growth of small trees, in particular willows (Salix). The other groups, as well as wintering birds, chiefly inhabit mangrove swamps and similar dense woody growth. Less preferred habitat are shrubland, farmlands and forest edges. In particular American yellow warblers will come to suburban or less densely settled areas, orchards and parks, and may well breed there. Outside the breeding season, these warblers are usually encountered in small groups, but while breeding they are fiercely territorial and will try to chase away any conspecific intruder that comes along.