Common Name: Rose-breasted Grosbeak
(Information for this species page was gathered in part by Samantha Bear for Biology 220W at Penn State New Kensington in Spring 2009)
The rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)is a stout-bodied, medium sized (seven to seven and a half inches long) bird. It is a member of the cardinal family (Cardinalidae) of the songbird order (Passeriformes). The name “grosbeak” marks one of the species’ most observable features, its large, usually gray, conical beak.
Males (above, left) and females of this species are very similar in size and, of course, in beaks. They are, however, so different in coloration that they are frequently mistaken for different species. The male is boldly marked with a black head and back, a white breast and belly, and an intensely red, triangularly shaped patch on his chest. His wings are also black and highlighted with white bars and crescent-shaped, white patches. The female, on the other hand, epitomizes camouflaging colors and patterns. She is brown on her head and back with a lighter breast and belly and covered with streaks of darker brown. She also has white wing bars, a broad, white eye stripe, and stripes on the top of her head. She looks like a super-sized sparrow and blends easily into the brown colors of her wooded habitats.
The rose-breasted grosbeak lives in deciduous forests and is especially found in open, secondary growth woodlands. It is frequently seen on forest edges, along streams, and in thick, shrubby ecotones. It makes a cup-shaped nest out of twigs and plant stalks. These nests may be located anywhere from five to twenty-five feet above the ground.
Mating and Reproduction
The female lays three to five eggs (green-blue with brown markings) and both the male and the female take turns incubating them. The eggs hatch in thirteen or fourteen days and the nestlings fledge in nine to twelve days. The nestlings and the fledglings are fed by both parents for about three weeks. After the fledges are weaned, in good resource and mild climate years, the parental pair may produce a second clutch of eggs.
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This page was last updated on
July 23, 2014