Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Grey-crowned Yellowthroat (Geothlypis poliocephala)


French: Paruline à calotte grise German: Wiesengelbkehlchen Spanish: Mascarita coronigrís

Geothlypis poliocephala

S. F. Baird

, 1865,

Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico


Often placed in a monotypic genus, Chamaethlypis, based on vocalizations, morphology and some plumage features, but not supported genetically#R. Geographical variation mostly clinal, birds becoming more olive above, deeper and more extensively yellow below, darker grey on head and with less obvious eye-crescents from N to S. Proposed race pontilis (described from Morelos, in S Mexico) synonymized with nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. poliocephala S. F. Baird, 1865 – Pacific slope of Mexico from N Sinaloa S to extreme W Oaxaca.
  • G. p. ralphi Ridgway, 1894 – Gulf slope of Mexico in Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí.
  • G. p. palpebralis Ridgway, 1887 – E slope from E Mexico (Veracruz) and Yucatán Peninsula S to N Costa Rica.
  • G. p. caninucha Ridgway, 1872 – Pacific slope from S Mexico (E Oaxaca) S to S Honduras.
  • G. p. icterotis Ridgway, 1889 – Pacific slope from Nicaragua S to W Costa Rica.
  • G. p. ridgwayi (Griscom, 1930) – SW Costa Rica S to SW Panama (Chiriquí).
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 13·2–16·4 g. Distinctive yellowthroat having stout bill with curved culmen, and long, graduated tail. Male nominate race has grey crown, black... read more


    Song a long rich series of varied and jumbled musical phrases, sounding rather like song of a ... read more


    Damp, grassy fields with some shrubs, hedgerows, semi-arid scrub and savanna, and other open grassy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on insects and other invertebrates. Forages mainly by gleaning low in scrub and grass, and sometimes on ground; also flycatches.


    Egg-laying in Apr–Jul. Nest a deep cup of grasses, lined with finer grasses and hair, placed low down in dense vegetation. Clutch 2... read more


    Sedentary. Race ralphi now just a rare vagrant in extreme S USA (SE Texas).

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common to common throughout range. No population estimates available; has increased in some areas (e.g. Caribbean slope of Costa... read more

    Recommended citation

    Curson, J. (2020). Grey-crowned Yellowthroat (Geothlypis poliocephala). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).