Bacterial pathogens secrete chemically diverse iron chelators called siderophores, which may exert additional distinctive functions in vivo. Among these, uropathogenic Escherichia coli often coexpress the virulence-associated siderophore yersiniabactin (Ybt) with catecholate siderophores. Here we used a new MS screening approach to reveal that Ybt is also a physiologically favorable Cu(II) ligand. Direct MS detection of the resulting Cu(II)-Ybt complex in mice and humans with E. coli urinary tract infections demonstrates copper binding to be a physiologically relevant in vivo interaction during infection. Ybt expression corresponded to higher copper resistance among human urinary tract isolates, suggesting a protective role for this interaction. Chemical and genetic characterization showed that Ybt helps bacteria resist copper toxicity by sequestering host-derived Cu(II) and preventing its catechol-mediated reduction to Cu(I). Together, these studies reveal a new virulence-associated function for Ybt that is distinct from iron binding.