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Black-headed Grosbeak

From Opus

Adult malePhoto © by Leslie Westlake Village, California, 17 April 2005
Adult male
Photo © by Leslie
Westlake Village, California, 17 April 2005
Pheucticus melanocephalus


[edit] Identification

FemalePhoto © by UncleGus_24Madera Canyon, Arizona,  6 May 2008
Photo © by UncleGus_24
Madera Canyon, Arizona, 6 May 2008

18-19 cm (7.1-7.5 in)

  • Black head, wings and tail with prominent white patches
  • Dark to tawny orange breast
  • Yellow belly


  • Brown head, neck and back with black streaks
  • White streaks down the middle of the head, over the eyes and on the cheeks
  • White breast
  • Greyish brown wings and tail, with two white wing bars and yellowish wing edges.

[edit] Distribution

North and Central America
North America:
Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan
United States of America: Western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. Vagrant to Eastern states.
Central America: Mexico, Baja California

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • P. m. maculatus:
  • P. m. melanocephalus:

[edit] Habitat

FemalePhoto © by ducbuclnKelseyville, California, 7 August 2014
Photo © by ducbucln
Kelseyville, California, 7 August 2014

Deciduous and mixed wooded areas with large trees, thick bushes, streamside corridors, river bottoms, lakeshores, wetlands, and suburban areas.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes pine and other seeds, berries and insects, spiders and fruit.

[edit] Breeding

The female builds the saucer-shaped nest 3-35' up in a broad-leaved tree or shrub. It is constructed from grass, twigs, bark, conifer needles, etc and lined with hair and other fine material.

The clutch which consists of 2-5 pale green, blue or grey eggs (with red or dark brown spots) is incubated by both sexes for 12-14 days. Fledging is around 11-12 days, but flight takes a further 2 weeks. Both adults feed the young.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from
  2. Lepage D. (2020) Black-headed_Grosbeak in Avibase - The World Bird Database. Retrieved 21May 2020
  3. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, December 28). Black-headed grosbeak. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:35, May 21, 2020, from
  4. Ortega, C. and G. E. Hill (2020). Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  5. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2019. Black-headed_Grosbeak in: All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Accessed on 21May 2020.

[edit] Recommended Citation

[edit] External Links


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