Somewhat looking like a blindingly bright exclamation mark at your bird feeder, this bird makes a visual statement wherever he goes!
Meet the Rose-crested Grosbeak
The rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus), colloquially called “cut-throat” due to its coloration, is a large, seed-eating grosbeak in the cardinal Cardinalidae family. The main characteristic of this species is the massive, dusky horn-colored, cone-shaped bill, hence the name Grosbeak. In his breeding plumage, the adult male has a heavy bill, a black head, wings, and upper plumage. He has a bright rose-red triangular patch on his chest. His black wings have white patches and rose-red linings. Mostly white below, his rump is white, or sometimes pink.
The female is generally duller than the male, somewhat resembling a large sparrow or finch. She has dark grey/brown above, with brown streaks on the cream of buff on her chest. Her neck, sides, and flanks are also cream buff-colored, with narrow or heavy black streaks.
Under her tail, it’s white, while the upper tail is brown. Her rump olive-brown. She has two white wing bars and yellowish to orange wing linings. Juveniles tend to resemble adult females.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a medium-distant migrant bird that breeds across most of Canada and the eastern United States. Northern populations migrate to southern Mexico south through Central America to Peru and Venezuela in wintertime.
This species breeds in Nearctic wooded lowlands, deciduous or mixed, preferring large tall trees and thickets of tall shrubs. They also like parks, wooded farmland, and even villages with large gardens. While wintering in South America they live in open rain cloud forests above 1000 m, as well as secondary growth, brush, and cultivated land.
Usually foraging in shrubs or trees, Rose-breasted Grosbeak feeds on grasshoppers, cankerworms, tent caterpillars, tussock moths, gypsy moths, and various other insects. They will also dine on seeds and berries.
Nest building for this species begins in May in Tennessee and in June further north in Saskatchewan. Both sexes participate in building the nest made with leaves, twigs, rootlets, and hair. This is usually situated on a branch, vine, or any other elevated woody vegetation. 1 to 5 eggs are laid within with both the male and female take turns at incubation which takes 11 to 14 days.
Nestlings are fledged after 9-13 days, becoming fully independent after 3 weeks.
Despite a declining population, this bird’s range is extremely large and not thought to approach the level required for Vulnerable under the IUCN size criterion.
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