24 cm (9-10") Common. Western and central North America. Fresh marshes, reedy lakes. Feeds in grainfields, open country.
Male: distinctive bright yellow head and breast contrasts with black body. Wing has white patch.
Female: dusky brown bird. Eyebrow, lower cheek, and throat are yellow or buffy-yellow. Unstreaked yellow breast. Lower breast or belly is streaked white. Lacks the wing patch of the male.
Song: harsh rasping note followed by long descending buzz; hoarse "croak" call.