Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Hey guys, welcome back! Today, our first grosbeak species. And the only grosbeak species I’ve seen (as of this writing.)  The rose-breasted grosbeak is common throughout the eastern US. Sexually dimorphic, the male looks like he’s wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a rose-red ascot. The female is various shades of brown, and heavily streaked with a distinctive light-colored eyebrow, kind of like a big fat sparrow. Their song is very similar to an American robin. Their voice is more clear that the robin though, and nearly every bird guide describes them as sounding like a robin that had voice lessons, or something along those lines.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Female1
Female rose-breasted grosbeak, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

I remember working in Central Park and always hearing about rose-breasted grosbeaks. They became one of those birds that was a nemesis of mine until I finally did see one. The male’s rose-colored breast really is a rose red. Like, it’s surprisingly bright. It’s not red red, it has an ever so slightly pinkish hue which doesn’t always translate well in photographs.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak3
Juvenile male rose-breasted grosbeak. You can see the red just starting to come in, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

They’re common in the eastern half of the US and western Canada during migration and in summer, while in winter they’re common throughout the Caribbean and Central America. Like other grosbeak species, the rose-breasted grosbeak eats primarily seeds (I mean just look at that huge, seed-crushing beak!) and they’re common visitors to bird feeders. In fact, they often visited the bird feeders in Central Park’s Ramble area, where I snapped the pic at the top of this post! So be on the lookout in your backyards! One of my favorite parks here in Ohio hosts a bunch of nesting ones every summer. Last week I was out in search of warblers and saw no fewer than 5 rose-breasted grosbeaks, all juveniles! Next up, we head back to the shore for another gull species! See you then!

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