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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Scientific name: Pheucticus ludovicianus

This striking bird is like none other in our area, so it is easy to identify. Some say that it is easier to located the grosbeak by song. If you know the song of the robin, that of the rose-breasted grosbeak is quite similar. This chunky bird has a thick bill with which it can easily crack nuts. The females and immature males have a very different appearance. They are brown and olive with a white streak above the eye and the characteristic big beak.

Photo Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation


1.5 ounce


8 inches

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The grosbeak eats a variety of foods from insects to seeds, berries and nuts.


It is found at forest edges and will also frequent bird feeders.

Life Cycle

The rose-breasted grosbeak couple choose a nesting site together and then go on to build their nest together as well. The male and female will take turns sitting on the nest. Is it a surprise that they will also sing to each other?

Human Connections

Unfortunately, this bird is sometimes trapped and sold for its appearance and song while wintering in warmer climates.

How You Can Help

This bird migrates to and from Mexico or South America in the fall and spring. During these periods it is important to have sources of food for these and other migrating birds. Consider planting a native dogwood tree and enjoy its beauty yourself. Other useful sources of food are the serviceberry and elderberry.

Our Native Birds at Risk

American songbirds  have declined in population by almost 50% from 1966 to 2015.  To learn more, the please read this   article in National Geographic Magazine.

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