Yellow-breasted Chat

Icteria virens

About This Animal

SIZE: 7 inches

RANGE: Across most of the US

HABITAT: Dense thicket and brambles in clearings and edges

DIET: Mostly insects and berries

ON EXHIBIT: Delta Swamp and Cove Forest at River Journey

The male and female Yellow-breasted Chat look very similar with a dark olive back, yellow breast and white belly, and a thick black beak. The dark eyes are set off by white “spectacles”.  This species is a neotropical migrant, which means it spends the winter months in the tropics and then migrates in the spring to breed in North America returning to the tropics in the fall.  It is called a “chat”  because it is very vocal and noisy (chatty) on its breeding grounds.

The population of the Yellow-breasted Chat is carefully monitored because of habitat destruction in its wintering range and in North America, but at this moment its population is stable. The Tennessee Aquarium has a male in the Delta Swamp and a male in the Cove Forest.