9 Stunning Yellow Birds In Michigan

How To Spot And Identify These 9 Stunning Yellow Birds In Michigan

Do You Know 9 Stunning Yellow Birds in Michigan? A state known for its diverse landscapes, harbors a vibrant avian community, and among its feathered residents, the stunning yellow birds stand out as true gems. From the cheerful melodies of the Yellow Warbler to the brilliant plumage of the American Goldfinch, these avian wonders add a splash of color to Michigan’s skies. In this exploration, we embark on a journey to discover and appreciate the unique traits of nine captivating yellow birds that grace Michigan’s ecosystems. Join us as we delve into their behaviors, habitats, and the crucial roles they play in the intricate tapestry of Michigan’s natural world.

Table of Contents

1. Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Yellow Warbler

Behavior and Vocalizations

Yellow Warblers, the cheerful minstrels of Michigan, fill the air with their melodious tunes. Observing their behaviors is like attending a nature’s concert:

  • Singing Habits: These avian virtuosos are known for their symphony of cheerful, repetitive notes. The male warblers use their songs not only to attract mates but also to establish and defend their nesting territories. It’s a lively performance that adds a vibrant soundtrack to Michigan’s natural landscapes.
  • Territorial Defense: Despite their small size, Yellow Warblers are fierce defenders of their territories. Witnessing their territorial displays is both awe-inspiring and amusing. These little guardians dive and dart with incredible agility, protecting their nests from potential threats, creating a spectacle for any nature enthusiast lucky enough to observe.

Photographing Yellow Warblers

For those seeking to capture the beauty of Yellow Warblers through the lens, here are some tips to make your photography experience a success:

  • Camouflage Techniques: Blend into the natural surroundings seamlessly. Consider using earth-toned clothing and strategically positioning yourself amidst the foliage. This way, you can observe and capture candid moments without disturbing the birds.
  • Timing Matters: Optimal lighting is crucial for stunning photographs. Aim for the golden hours of dawn and dusk when the soft light enhances the vivid colors of the warblers’ plumage. Patience is key; waiting for the perfect moment will reward you with captivating shots of these beautiful birds.

2. American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

American Goldfinch

Identifying Features

The American Goldfinch, a sunshine-yellow marvel, stands out with its distinctive features:

  • Bright Plumage: The male American Goldfinch is a visual spectacle during the breeding season, donning a brilliant yellow coat that earned it the nickname “wild canary.” This burst of color makes it an iconic symbol of avian beauty and an unmistakable sight against the green foliage.
  • Size and Shape: Despite their diminutive size, American Goldfinches are easily identifiable. Their small frame and conical bills, designed for efficient seed-eating, contribute to their unique charm.

Range and Migration Patterns

Embark on a migratory journey with the American Goldfinch, witnessing their adaptability across different climates:

  • Seasonal Movement: American Goldfinches are dynamic migrants, adjusting their locations based on the seasons. In summer, their bright yellow plumage is a common sight, while in winter, they adopt a more subdued olive-brown color. This adaptability allows them to thrive in various regions across the country.
  • Range Expansion: The versatility of American Goldfinches is evident in their ability to inhabit a range of environments, from open fields to suburban gardens. This adaptability contributes to their widespread presence throughout North America.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Explore the culinary world of the American Goldfinch:

  • Seed Predilection: Seeds are the mainstay of their diet. They exhibit a particular preference for thistle seeds, sunflower seeds, and other small seeds. Their specialized bills are adapted for extracting seeds from their pods, showcasing their evolutionary efficiency.
  • Feeding Behavior: Marvel at their acrobatic feats as they navigate the air with grace. Their agile movements are particularly noticeable during feeding, where they perch on seed heads or dangle upside down to access their favorite food sources.

Breeding and Nesting

Step into the family life of American Goldfinches:

  • Nest Construction: Witness the intricate craftsmanship of their nests. Woven with plant fibers and lined with down, these nests are true avian marvels. The female Goldfinch takes charge of construction, ensuring a secure and cozy environment for their offspring.
  • Parenting Roles: Experience the cooperative parenting efforts of both male and female Goldfinches. Both partners actively participate in the care and feeding of their nestlings, fostering a strong familial bond.

These first two yellow birds are just a glimpse of Michigan’s avian wonders. Stay tuned as we explore the distinctive features, behaviors, and ecological roles of seven more stunning yellow birds that grace Michigan’s skies and landscapes.

3. Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)

Eastern Meadowlark

Appearance and Song

The Eastern Meadowlark, a feathered poet of Michigan’s fields, brings a different kind of allure to the avian tableau:

  • Distinctive Plumage: With streaked brown upperparts and bright yellow underparts, the Eastern Meadowlark is a visual masterpiece against the green canvas of meadows. Their unique coloration adds an artistic touch to Michigan’s natural scenery.
  • Melodic Song: Adding to their charm is their distinctive, flute-like song. Picture the vast open landscapes of Michigan echoing with their melodic tunes, creating a serene and picturesque ambiance.

Preferred Habitats

Discover where these poets of the fields choose to establish their homes:

  • Grassy Fields: Eastern Meadowlarks have a penchant for meadows and fields, preferring open spaces for foraging and nesting. These grassy expanses provide the ideal backdrop for their elegant existence.
  • Nesting Sites: Observe their ground-level nests, carefully concealed in tall grasses. This adaptation ensures their nests remain well-hidden, safeguarding their precious eggs and chicks from potential predators.

Breeding and Nesting Behavior

Dive into the intricacies of family life for the Eastern Meadowlark:

  • Courtship Displays: Witness elaborate courtship rituals, from aerial displays to enchanting song serenades. These displays are not just a mating dance but also a testament to the beauty of avian courtship.
  • Nesting Habits: Explore the ground-level nests constructed with meticulous care. These nests are designed to cradle the delicate eggs and chicks, showcasing the Meadowlark’s commitment to ensuring the survival of their offspring.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts

Understand the challenges faced by Eastern Meadowlarks and the initiatives working towards their conservation:

  • Habitat Loss: The expansion of urban areas and agriculture poses a threat to their natural habitats. Encroachment on their territories is a significant concern for their population.
  • Conservation Initiatives: Delve into the ongoing efforts by conservationists to mitigate habitat loss. Initiatives include the restoration of suitable habitats and raising awareness about the importance of preserving these spaces for Eastern Meadowlarks.

4. Yellow-Throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)

Yellow-Throated Vireo

Distinctive Plumage and Song

The Yellow-Throated Vireo, a living canvas of yellows, brings an artistic touch to Michigan’s trees:

  • Vibrant Plumage: Feast your eyes on the vibrant yellow throat and distinctive facial markings that make the Yellow-Throated Vireo a visually striking species. Their presence adds a burst of color to the green canopy.
  • Melodious Song: Indulge in their rich, melodious tunes resonating through the treetops. The canopy becomes a natural concert hall, with the Yellow-Throated Vireo as the lead performer.

Range and Seasonal Movement

Explore the movements of this avian artist across different seasons:

  • Migration Patterns: Understand their migration routes as they move to and from their breeding grounds. Tracking their seasonal movements provides valuable insights into their behavior and ecology.
  • Distinctive Locations: Discover the specific regions where the Yellow-Throated Vireo thrives, from wooded areas to deciduous forests. Their adaptability to diverse environments showcases their resilience.

Nesting and Parenting

Peek into the family life of the Yellow-Throated Vireo:

  • Nesting Behavior: Explore their nesting habits, from selecting suitable locations to constructing intricate nests. Witness the precision and care that goes into creating a safe haven for their eggs and chicks.
  • Parental Care: Learn about their parenting roles, as both male and female vireos actively participate in raising their young. Cooperation ensures the survival and well-being of the next generation.

Notable Predators

Understand the challenges these vibrant birds face in the wild:

  • Avian Predators: Yellow-Throated Vireos contend with natural predators such as hawks and other birds of prey. The constant struggle for survival adds a layer of complexity to their daily lives.

The journey through Michigan’s vibrant avian landscape continues as we delve into the lives of five more stunning yellow birds. Each bird brings its unique charm, contributing to the rich tapestry of Michigan’s ecosystems. Stay tuned for a closer look at their physical characteristics, behaviors, and the critical roles they play in maintaining ecological balance.

5. Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker

Physical Characteristics

Enter the world of the Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker, a woodpecker with distinctive features:

  • Coloration: Recognize them by their brown plumage, barred black, and prominent yellow shafts on their wings and tail feathers.
  • Size and Shape: Unlike typical woodpeckers, Flickers boast a slender build, long bill, and a unique undulating flight pattern.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Explore the culinary preferences and foraging techniques of the Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker:

  • Ant-Eating Habits: These woodpeckers have a penchant for ants, using their barbed tongues to extract the insects from the ground.
  • Ground Foraging: Observe their distinctive ground foraging behavior, a departure from the traditional woodpecker approach, as they seek ants and beetles in the soil.

Nesting Sites and Behavior

Understand the nesting habits and family dynamics of the Flicker:

  • Cavity Nesting: Flickers are cavity nesters, utilizing abandoned tree holes or excavating their own in dead trees.
  • Parental Roles: Witness the collaborative efforts of both male and female Flickers in incubating eggs and caring for their fledglings.

Interaction with Humans

Explore the curious interactions between Northern Yellow-Shafted Flickers and their human neighbors:

  • Drumming Sounds: Their drumming sounds on resonant surfaces, such as metal chimneys, create a unique auditory experience.
  • Conservation Concerns: Understand the conservation challenges they face due to habitat loss and competition for nesting sites.

6. Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)

Pine Warbler

Appearance and Behavior

Step into the world of Pine Warblers, the arboreal artists of Michigan’s forests:

  • Subtle Beauty: Pine Warblers may lack the flashy hues of some counterparts, but their understated beauty, with olive-yellow plumage, blends seamlessly with pine needles.
  • Foraging Techniques: Watch as they expertly glean insects from pine needles, showcasing their adept foraging skills.

Range and Migration Patterns

Discover the migratory habits and preferred locations of Pine Warblers:

  • Year-Round Residents: In Michigan, Pine Warblers are often year-round residents, avoiding the arduous migrations of some bird species.
  • Coniferous Havens: Their affinity for coniferous forests, especially pine-dominated areas, offers insights into their habitat preferences.

Diet and Foraging Techniques

Explore the dietary preferences and foraging techniques that sustain Pine Warblers:

  • Insectivorous Diet: Pine Warblers primarily feed on insects, spiders, and caterpillars found among pine needles.
  • Needle Foraging: Observe their unique method of foraging by carefully inspecting pine needles for hidden prey.

Yellow Birds in Michigan: Nesting Preferences

Delve into the nesting habits and preferences of Pine Warblers:

  • High Nests: Pine Warblers often build their nests high in pine trees, providing safety from ground predators.
  • Discreet Nests: Their nests are subtly constructed with twigs, grass, and pine needles, blending seamlessly with the surrounding foliage.

Pine Warblers in Michigan’s Ecosystem

Understand the ecological role of Pine Warblers within Michigan’s diverse ecosystems:

  • Insect Population Control: Their insectivorous diet contributes to controlling insect populations, promoting ecosystem balance.
  • Forest Health: Pine Warblers indirectly contribute to forest health by aiding in pest control, showcasing their significance in Michigan’s natural landscapes.

Stay tuned as we unravel the tales of three more yellow wonders gracing Michigan’s skies, each with its unique characteristics and contributions to the state’s ecological harmony.

7. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Identifying Features and Range

Enter the world of the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, a bird with a name as intriguing as its appearance:

  • Distinctive Markings: Recognize them by their black and white plumage, red crown, and, of course, the distinctive yellowish wash on their bellies.
  • Migration Routes: Explore their migration routes, as they move between breeding grounds in Michigan and wintering areas in the southern United States.

Sap-Feeding Habits

Uncover the unique feeding habits that give this woodpecker its distinctive name:

  • Tree Sap as Nectar: Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers feed on tree sap, creating characteristic sap wells in rows on tree trunks.
  • Attracting Insects: The sap not only serves as a direct energy source but also attracts insects, providing an additional food source.

Breeding and Nesting Behavior

Learn about the family life of Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers:

  • Cavity Nesters: These woodpeckers carve out cavities in trees for nesting, a behavior shared with other woodpecker species.
  • Parental Roles: Observe the cooperative efforts of both parents in incubating eggs and caring for their offspring.

Ecological Role

Understand the ecological significance of Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers in Michigan’s ecosystems:

  • Tree Impact: While their sap wells can cause damage to trees, they also serve a unique ecological role by creating openings for other wildlife.
  • Insect Control: The attraction of insects to sap wells aids in insect control, contributing to the balance of the local ecosystem.

8. Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria Citrea)

Prothonotary Warbler

Vibrant Plumage and Habitat

Step into the world of the Prothonotary Warbler, a burst of color in Michigan’s wetlands:

  • Vivid Yellow Plumage: Marvel at their brilliant golden-yellow feathers, making them stand out in the greenery of wetland habitats.
  • Wetland Residency: Discover their preference for nesting in wetlands, emphasizing the importance of these ecosystems for their survival.

Migratory Patterns

Follow the migratory journey of Prothonotary Warblers:

  • Long-Distance Travelers: These warblers embark on impressive migrations, traveling between their breeding grounds in Michigan and wintering areas in Central and South America.
  • Conservation Implications: Understand the challenges faced by these long-distance travelers and the conservation efforts to protect their crucial stopover habitats.

Nesting Habits and Challenges

Explore the nesting habits and challenges faced by Prothonotary Warblers:

  • Cavity Nesters: Like many warblers, they nest in tree cavities, often utilizing abandoned woodpecker nests or artificial nest boxes.
  • Brood Parasitism: Navigate through the challenges of brood parasitism, where other bird species may lay their eggs in Prothonotary Warbler nests.

Conservation Status

Learn about the conservation status of Prothonotary Warblers:

  • Habitat Loss Concerns: Habitat loss due to wetland degradation poses a significant threat to their populations.
  • Conservation Initiatives: Explore ongoing initiatives focused on habitat restoration and public awareness to safeguard these vibrant warblers.

9. Yellow-Headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus)

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Appearance and Behavior

Enter the world of the striking Yellow-Headed Blackbird, a bold presence in Michigan’s wetland landscapes:

  • Distinctive Appearance: Recognize them by the bold contrast of their black bodies and striking yellow heads.
  • Aggressive Displays: Witness their territorial and aggressive displays, especially during the breeding season.

Distribution and Migration Routes

Explore the vast territories covered by Yellow-Headed Blackbirds:

  • Wetland Dominance: These blackbirds predominantly inhabit wetlands, utilizing the areas for breeding, feeding, and roosting.
  • Seasonal Movements: Understand their migration routes, which can extend across North America, showcasing their adaptability.

Nesting and Reproduction

Delve into the nesting and reproductive habits of Yellow-Headed Blackbirds:

  • Colonial Nesters: Yellow-Headed Blackbirds are known for nesting in colonies, creating a spectacle of avian architecture in wetland areas.
  • Aggressive Defense: Witness their aggressive defense of nests, a strategy employed to protect their eggs and chicks from potential threats.

Role in Wetland Ecosystems

Understand the ecological significance of Yellow-Headed Blackbirds in wetland ecosystems:

  • Seed Dispersion: Their feeding habits contribute to seed dispersion, influencing plant diversity in wetland areas.
  • Insect Control: By preying on insects, they play a role in controlling insect populations, contributing to the ecological balance.

Stay tuned as we wrap up our exploration of Michigan’s stunning yellow birds with a detailed comparison between two beloved warblers and an exploration of their roles in the state’s delicate ecosystems.

Yellow Warbler vs. Yellow-Rumped Warbler: A Comparison

9 Stunning Yellow Birds In Michigan

Physical Differences

Let’s embark on a comparative journey between two iconic yellow warblers that grace Michigan’s landscapes:

Yellow Warbler:

  • Vibrant Yellow Plumage: Distinguished by its overall bright yellow coloring, the male Yellow Warbler’s plumage radiates warmth and cheerfulness.
  • Subtle Red Streaks: Observe the subtle red streaks on males’ breasts, adding a touch of contrast to their yellow canvas.
  • Small Size: Relatively small in size, these warblers are agile fliers, flitting among branches with ease.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler:

  • Yellow and Gray Combination: The Yellow-Rumped Warbler features a unique combination of yellow and gray plumage.
  • Yellow Rump Patch: Standout characteristic is the bright yellow patch on their rump, a feature absent in many other warbler species.
  • Larger Size: Compared to the Yellow Warbler, the Yellow-Rumped Warbler is slightly larger, showcasing a more robust build.

Habitat Preferences

Explore the distinct habitat choices of these yellow warblers:

Yellow Warbler:

  • Shrubland and Forest Edges: Yellow Warblers favor habitats with dense shrubbery, often found near forest edges or along water bodies.
  • Nest Placement: Their cup-shaped nests are skillfully woven into the branches of shrubs, providing a secure space for raising their young.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler:

  • Varied Habitats: Yellow-Rumped Warblers exhibit more flexibility, inhabiting a range of environments from coniferous forests to mixed woodlands.
  • Tree-Nesting: They typically build their nests on tree branches, demonstrating adaptability to diverse settings.

Vocalizations and Calls

Dive into the distinctive sounds that characterize these warblers:

Yellow Warbler:

  • Sweet, Musical Song: The Yellow Warbler’s song is a sweet, melodic series of whistles and trills, often likened to the repetition of “sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet.”
  • Communicative Chirps: Beyond their song, they use soft chirps and calls for communication, especially during territorial interactions.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler:

  • Chatty Calls: Yellow-Rumped Warblers are known for their chatty nature, emitting a variety of high-pitched chips and trills.
  • Soft Whistles: Their songs include soft, whistled notes that contribute to the avian symphony of their habitats.

Behavior and Migration

Explore the behavioral nuances and migratory patterns of these warblers:

Yellow Warbler:

  • Active Foragers: Yellow Warblers are active foragers, flitting among foliage to catch insects. Their agile movements make them adept hunters.
  • Long-Distance Migrants: These warblers embark on impressive long-distance migrations, traveling between their breeding grounds in North America and wintering areas in Central and South America.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler:

  • Versatile Foraging: Yellow Birds in Michigan-Rumped Warblers showcase versatile foraging behaviors, switching between gleaning insects from foliage and catching them mid-air.
  • Varied Migration Routes: They exhibit varied migration routes, with some populations migrating to Central America while others remain in milder climates.

The Role of Yellow Birds in Michigan’s Ecosystem

Bird-Watching Tips for Spotting Yellow Birds in Michigan

Pollination and Seed Dispersion

Uncover the ecological roles that these vibrant birds play in Michigan’s delicate ecosystems:

  • Pollination Agents: Many yellow birds, especially those with a penchant for nectar-rich flowers, contribute to pollination as they move from blossom to blossom.
  • Seed Spreaders: In their quest for food, these birds inadvertently disperse seeds, aiding in the growth of diverse plant species and promoting biodiversity.

Insect Control and Ecosystem Balance

Delve into the insect-controlling prowess of Michigan’s yellow avian residents:

  • Natural Pest Controllers: Insects form a significant portion of the diet for many yellow birds, helping control insect populations naturally.
  • Balance in Ecosystems: By keeping insect numbers in check, these birds contribute to a balanced ecosystem, preventing outbreaks that could harm vegetation.

Cultural and Artistic Significance

Explore the cultural and artistic connections Michigan residents have with these vibrant birds:

  • Symbolic Representations: Yellow birds often hold symbolic significance in various cultures, representing joy, happiness, and positivity.
  • Artistic Inspirations: Their vibrant plumage serves as inspiration for artists, writers, and poets, contributing to the rich cultural tapestry of Michigan.

Conservation Efforts and Initiatives

Understand the ongoing conservation efforts aimed at preserving Michigan’s yellow bird populations:

  • Habitat Restoration: Initiatives focus on restoring and preserving the natural habitats these birds rely on for breeding, feeding, and nesting.
  • Public Awareness: Educational programs and outreach aim to raise public awareness about the importance of preserving these birds and their habitats.

Challenges Facing Yellow Bird Populations

Acknowledge the hurdles that yellow birds in Michigan confront:

  • Habitat Loss: Urbanization and land development continue to shrink the natural spaces vital for these birds.
  • Climate Change Impact: Changing climate patterns pose challenges, affecting migration timings, nesting success, and overall bird health.

Organizations and Programs Working Towards Conservation

Citizen Science and Bird-Watching Communities

Celebrate the collaborative efforts of citizen scientists and bird-watching communities:

  • Data Collection: Citizen scientists contribute valuable data by observing bird behaviors, documenting sightings, and participating in bird counts, aiding scientists in understanding population trends.
  • Community Engagement: Bird-watching communities foster a sense of connection and shared responsibility for avian conservation. Enthusiasts come together to share knowledge, experiences, and contribute to collective efforts.

Bird-Watching Tips for Spotting Yellow Birds in Michigan

Best Locations and Habitats

Embark on a bird-watching adventure with insights into prime birding locations:

  • Wetlands and Marshes: Explore wetlands and marshes, favored habitats for many yellow birds like the Yellow-Headed Blackbird and Prothonotary Warbler.
  • Forest Edges: Seek out forest edges and meadows where Yellow Warblers and Eastern Meadowlarks often make their homes.

Essential Equipment and Tools

Gear up for successful bird-watching with the right equipment:

  • Binoculars: Invest in quality binoculars for a closer look at birds in their natural habitats.
  • Field Guides: Carry field guides to aid in bird identification. These guides offer detailed information on plumage, behavior, and vocalizations.

Ethical Bird-Watching Practices

Enjoy bird-watching responsibly with these ethical guidelines:

  • Respectful Distance: Maintain a respectful distance to avoid disturbing nesting birds and their habitats.
  • Leave No Trace: Follow a “leave no trace” approach, refraining from leaving behind any waste or disrupting natural environments.

Final Thoughts

Michigan’s yellow birds, with their diverse colors, behaviors, and ecological roles, paint a vibrant portrait of the state’s natural richness. From the cheerful melodies of Yellow Warblers to the striking visuals of Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, each species contributes to the intricate tapestry of Michigan’s ecosystems.

As stewards of the environment, it is our collective responsibility to appreciate, conserve, and protect these avian wonders. Through conservation efforts, citizen engagement, and responsible bird-watching practices, we can ensure that future generations continue to marvel at the stunning yellow birds that grace Michigan’s skies.


Q1: Are yellow birds common in Michigan?

Yes, Yellow Birds in Michigan is home to several species of yellow birds, including the Yellow Warbler, American Goldfinch, and Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. These birds add vibrant hues to Michigan’s diverse landscapes.

Q2: What is the best time to spot yellow birds in Michigan?

The best time to spot Yellow Birds in Michigan is during the spring and summer months when many species are breeding and their colors are most vibrant.

Q3: How can I attract yellow birds to my backyard?

To attract yellow birds to your backyard, provide suitable food sources such as thistle seeds, sunflower seeds, and sugar water. Also, create a bird-friendly environment with shrubs and trees for nesting.

Q4: Are yellow birds beneficial to the ecosystem?

Yes, Yellow Birds in Michigan play crucial roles in the ecosystem, including pollination, seed dispersion, and insect control. They contribute to the balance of Michigan’s natural habitats.

Q5: What conservation initiatives can I support to help yellow birds in Michigan?

Supporting organizations like the Audubon Society, which Yellow Birds in Michigan focuses on bird conservation, and participating in citizen science programs contribute to the preservation of yellow bird habitats in Michigan.

Alberto Amarilla

Greetings! I’m Alberto Amarilla. I’m a devoted enthusiast of both our avian friends and our beloved pets, and I also happen to serve as the editor for Evidence News. Birds and pets hold a special place in my heart, and my dedication to this category is driven by a desire to deliver top-notch information about these wonderful creatures. As you’re well aware, the world is teeming with a diverse array of bird and pet species. I’m excited to embark on this journey with you, gradually introducing you to these fascinating beings, one by one.

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