Rose-breasted GrosbeakPheucticus ludovicianus

adult male, breeding
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult female
Brian E. Small/VIREO
immature male (1st year)
Garth McElroy/VIREO
adult male, breeding
Brian E. Small/VIREO
immature male (1st year)
James M. Wedge/VIREO
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Family

Description

8" (20 cm). Starling-sized. Heavy pinkish-white bill. Male black and white with conspicuous rose-red patch on breast and underwings. Female white above and below with heavy brown streaking; prominent white eyebrow; yellow wing linings.

Voice

Its distinctive call note is a sharp, penetrating, metallic eek-eek. Song is like that of an American Robin, but softer and more melodious.

Listen

turlee calls (immature)
song
weep calls
chink calls
chink calls & songs
teeyoo calls (immature)
extended song

Habitat

Moist woodlands adjacent to open fields with tall shrubs; also old and overgrown orchards.

Range

Breeds from northeastern British Columbia, southern Manitoba, and Nova Scotia south to southern Alberta, central North Dakota, central Oklahoma, and New Jersey, and in mountains as far south as northern Georgia. Appears regularly on West Coast. Winters from central Mexico through Central America and into northern South America.

Discussion

This handsome grosbeak is one of the most conspicuous birds before the foliage comes into full leaf in early May. It is beneficial to farmers, consuming many potato beetles and larvae as well as weed seeds, wild fruits, and buds.

Nesting

4 or 5 purple-spotted whitish eggs in a loosely made nest of twigs, grass, and plant fibers set in a low branch of a tree.

Similar Species

adult male

Eastern Towhee

7-8 1/2" (17-22 cm). Male has black hood, back, and wings. Tail black with white edging on outer feathers; breast and belly white with bright rufous sides.

adult male

Black-headed Grosbeak

7 1/2" (19 cm). Starling-sized. Heavy pinkish-white bill.

Vireo

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