Blue Grosbeak

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Image:Bluegrosbeak.JPG

Common Name: Blue Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Passerina caerulea

Size: 5.9-6.3 inches (15-16 cm); Wingspan: 11 inches (28 cm)

Habitat: North America; a migratory bird, with nesting grounds across most of the southern half of the United States and much of northern Mexico, migrating south to Central America and in very small numbers to northern South America; the southernmost record comes from eastern Ecuador.

Its preferred habitat is forest edges, fields, power-line cuts, riparian areas, hedgerows, and other areas with medium-sized trees and low shrub density.

Status: Not Threatened. Global population: Unknown population. Populations are stable or increasing. Range has expanded northward since early 20th century. Brown-headed Cowbird commonly lays its own eggs in Blue Grosbeak nests; specific effects on populations not documented.

Diet: Insects, other invertebrates, and seeds. They gather in rice fields during migration. Its large bill can handle large seeds, including corn, and insects such as mantids and grasshoppers. It forages on the ground and in shrubs and trees.

Nesting: Males are black in front of eyes extending down to bill. Flight feathers are dark brown to black, with blue edging. Male breeding plumage (alternative): Blue all over, with brown wingbars. Male non-breeding plumage: Body blue with brownish feather edges. Females are brown all over, with some blue feathers on back. Flight feathers are dark brown to black, with brown edging. Immatures; first-year females resemble adult females, with even less blue on the upper-parts. First-year males, through the first full summer of life, shows plumage intermediate between that of adult females and adult males, with variable amounts of blue mixed with brown.

Females build a nest in a low shrub or small tree. The nest is a compact cup made of twigs, bark, rootlets, and other fibers and strips of plant material.

The eggs are pale blue and unmarked and usually 3 to 5 eggs are laid.

Cool Facts: The Blue Grosbeak formerly was placed in its own genus, Guiraca. It was formerly known as Guiraca caerulea. Similarities with buntings in genetics, behavior, molts, and plumages led to its inclusion in the bunting genus Passerina. Genetic evidence indicates that the Lazuli Bunting is its closest relative.

In the southern part of its breeding range, the Blue Grosbeak commonly raises two broods per year.


Found in Songbird Remix Woodland Jewels

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