The Yellow-rumped Warbler breeds from eastern North America west to the Pacific, and southward from there into Western Mexico. It is a migratory bird which travels to Central America and the Caribbean for winters. Among warblers it is one of the last to leave North America in the fall, and among the first to return. It is an occasional vagrant to the British Isles and Iceland.
In summers, males have streaked backs of black on slate blue, white wing patches, a streaked breast, and conspicuous yellow patches on the crown, flank, and rump. Females are more dull, with brown streaking front and back, but still have noticeable yellow rumps.
These birds are primarily insectivorous. They often flit, flycatcher-like, out from their perches in short loops, in search of insects. They nest in coniferous and mixed woodlands, and lay 4–5 eggs in a cup-shaped nest.