Is That a Yellow Monarch Butterfly in Your Garden?

Updated: Aug. 10, 2022

Think you saw a yellow monarch butterfly? Learn how to stop making this butterfly blunder and see photos of yellow and orange butterflies.

Have You Ever Seen a Yellow Monarch Butterfly?

yellow monarch butterflyCourtesy Kay Hayes
Tiger swallowtail butterflies have eye-catching yellow and black wings

Several butterflies cleverly mimic monarchs with bright orange wings and similar markings, including the viceroy butterfly and the queen butterfly. But there are other beautiful butterflies that can easily confuse gardeners and nature lovers as well, such as the tiger swallowtail. We must clarify, no, that’s not a yellow monarch butterfly. A Birds & Blooms reader made this common mistake when she captured this photo (above).

“I love growing Mexican sunflowers on our property not only because they’re beautiful, but they attract hundreds of monarch butterflies! This photo is a reminder of why I love gardening and the return of these majestic creatures every year,” she says.

monarch butterfly flowersCourtesy Rosemary Goussios
Monarch butterflies have orange and black wings

Don’t feel badly about making this butterfly blunder! Swallowtails, like monarchs, are gorgeous butterflies that may be spotted in backyards across North America. Here are some other orange and yellow butterflies that might make you look twice.

Check out these 20 must-see pictures of monarchs.

Orange and Yellow Butterflies You Might See

clouded sulphur butterflyCourtesy Charlene Denise Maples

Orange Sulphur Butterfly

“This beautiful orange sulphur was casually feeding on yellow lantana. I love the way the two yellows blend for a refreshingly lemony summer photo. If you look closely, you can see the butterfly’s green, speckled eye,” says Charlene Denise Maples.

Monarch eggs or aphids? How to tell the difference.

Giant swallowtail butterflyCourtesy Caron Gray

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

“It was a beautiful summer morning in Wisconsin and I was walking in the field behind our yard when I saw this giant swallowtail. It fluttered around for quite some time, and I was able to get many photos of it. This is one of my favorites, even though it is on a cutleaf teasel, which is an invasive plant. I can’t get enough of these gorgeous butterflies!” says Caron Gray.

Discover 6 fascinating swallowtail butterfly facts.

Mourning cloak butterflyCourtesy Brenda Doherty

Mourning Cloak

“I captured this shot of a mourning cloak getting nectar from a coneflower in my garden. I have a fairly large yard with lots of flowers and trees. The mourning cloaks seem to like an area with dead leaves, tree stumps and branch piles,” says Brenda Doherty.

Follow the stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle.

yellow monarch butterfly, cloudless sulphurCourtesy ack Peterson

Cloudless Sulphur

“I spotted this cloudless sulfur butterfly among ironweed as the sun was casting the flower’s shadow onto the wings like a projector! It seemed to pose just enough for me to get a good angle,” says Jack Peterson.

eastern black swallowtailCourtesy Nancy Melton

Black Swallowtail

“This black swallowtail butterfly was getting nectar from some clover at the edge of a pond. I love the colors in this photo along with the crisp image. It was a beautiful day to watch nature unfold,” says Nancy Melton.

Monarch butterfly migration is simply magical. Track their epic journey on this migration map.

A great spangled fritillary butterfly sits on Joe Pye weed.Courtesy Peggy Yaeger

Great Spangled Fritillary

“Driving down some of the back roads in the Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky, I’ll often come across insects and butterflies feeding on wildflowers. This great spangled fritillary butterfly was drinking nectar from Joe Pye weed while being illuminated by the sun,” says Peggy Yaeger.

276555584 1 Ashley Veatch Bnb Bypc 2021Courtesy Ashley Veatch

Painted Lady

“This painted lady stopped and sunned itself on my hydrangeas for a long time. I was able to get several wonderful shots,” says Ashley Veatch.

Check out the ultimate guide to growing milkweed plants for monarchs.

gulf fritillary on passion vineCourtesy Michele Ramsey

Gulf Fritillary

“Since my favorite color is orange, I love this beautiful gulf fritillary butterfly. It is sitting on the edge of a leaf of the passion fruit vine. This plant is a host plant for the larvae of this species. I also like the black and white accents on the wings,” says Michele Ramsey.

Are monarch butterflies endangered?

pearl crescent butterflyCourtesy Gina Altizer

Pearl Crescent

“One of my favorite things to do is to go for a nature walk through the meadow behind our house. I was glad I had my camera ready when I spied this little pearl crescent butterfly in the tall grass. I love the contrast of the orange and black butterfly with the green and rose colors of the grasses,” says Gina Altizer.

Psst—have you ever seen a rare yellow cardinal bird?

red admiral butterfly sitting on a flower.Courtesy Michelle Nyss

Red Admiral

“A red admiral caught my interest with its tapestry of color. I watched it go from one flower to another and patiently waited for it to come closer. It finally landed a few feet away from me. The light from behind made the edges of its wings glow and the blues look luminous,” says Michelle Nyss.

Want to raise monarch butterflies? Here’s what you need to know.

question mark butterflyCourtesy Kathy Stadtfeld

Question Mark

“I was out tagging monarchs when this question mark butterfly landed on a butterfly bush in front of me,” says Kathy Stadtfeld.

Bnbbyc18 Cherish YukeCourtesy Cherish Yuke


“These soldier butterflies were competing to pollinate the same flower at Perdenales State Park in Johnson City, Texas,” says Cherish Yuke.

Now that you know there’s no such thing as a yellow monarch butterfly, find out do monarch butterfly sightings have meaning?