Rose-breasted Grosbeak

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Common Name: Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Pheucticus ludovicianus

Size: 7.1 - 8.3 inches (18-21 cm)

Habitat: North and South America. Summer Range: Breeds east of the Rockies from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in deciduous and mixed woodlands, especially at the edges, second-growth woodlands, orchards, suburban parks and gardens. Winter Range: Yucatan peninsula to northern South America in open tropical forest.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 4,600,000 Mature individuals. Populations are stable.

Diet: Insects, seeds, fruits, and buds.

Breeding: Male Breeding plumage: Rosy red triangular breast patch. Black head and upperparts, sometimes with a few brown feathers. White underparts. White patches on wing; form wingbars at rest, large white spot in flight. White spots on outermost three feathers of black tail. Red wing linings. White rump; sometimes pink, usually with some dark marks.

Male Nonbreeding plumage: Similar to breeding, but black feathers on upperparts have buff tips that partially hide the black. On head they create a buff center crown-stripe and face stripes. Throat and chin mottled black and pink. Pink breast dull. Resembles female, but wings and tail are deep black with white.

Female plumage: Dull black crown stripes, with pale center stripe. White stripe over eye, brown face mask. Back brown with dark streaks. Chin, throat, and lower cheeks creamy white. Neck, breast, sides, and flanks cream or buff, with narrow or heavy black streaks. Amount of buff color and size and thickness of streaking is variable. Belly and under tail white. Rump olive brown. Tail brown. Two white wingbars. Some white in wings shown in flight. Yellowish to orange wing linings. Dark brown upperparts with brown streaks on breast.

Immature Plummage: similar to adult female, but wings and tail browner, breast more buffy and with more indistinct streaks. Immature fall male has brownish chest, usually with some pink, and red wing linings. First-summer male (Alternate I) similar to adult, but with more brownish wing and tail, and usually some brown body feathers.

The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak participates in incubation of the eggs, accounting for about 1/3 of the time during the day (the female incubates overnight). Both sexes sing quietly to each other when they exchange places. The male will sing his normal song while near or actually on the nest. The nest is a loose cup of sticks, twigs, grasses, weed stems, decayed leaves or straw, lined with fine twigs, rootlets, or hair. It is so thinly constructed that eggs often can be seen from below through the nest. Placed in trees, shrubs, or vines. 1-5 eggs.

Cool Facts: The Rose-breasted Grosbeak hybridizes with the Black-headed Grosbeak where their ranges overlap in the Great Plains. Hybrids can look like either parent species, or be intermediate in pattern, with various combinations of pink, orange, and black. Hybridization occurs most often where the densities of both species are low, and only rarely when densities are high. Also, in areas of overlap with the Black-headed Grosbeak, male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks responded equally to songs of both species. When presented with mating birds, however, they attacked the Rose-breasted Grosbeak mount more. The males directed their attacks primarily at the white rump and flanks of the model, suggesting that the white rump is a more important stimulus than the red chest.

Found in Songbird ReMix Freebies

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