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Yellow-breasted chat        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Yellow-breasted chats are large, aberrant wood warblers (at least according to current taxonomy, although there is some debate about their phylogeny).   In the western US, they favor thick streamside vegetation; since these riparian areas are declining, so are chats, and in California there is concern over their populations.   Although chats tend to sulk deep in the bushes, their loud characteristic songs and strange, butterfly-like display flights give them away.  Most of these were at the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area in Riverside, California, or at Big Morongo Reserve in the California desert; one was from Patagonia, Arizona.

  • Canon 10D, 7D, 1D4, or R5; 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X or 2X converter, fill-in flash (2004, 2010, 2012, 2022)