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Blue Grosbeak

From Opus

MalePhoto © by P. wilkinsonSouth Carolina, USA, May 2007
Photo © by P. wilkinson
South Carolina, USA, May 2007
Passerina caerulea

Formerly - Guiraca caerulea


[edit] Identification

L. 6 3/4" (17 cm)

  • Dark blue
  • Rusty wing bars
  • Large beak
  • Black face


  • Buffy brown
  • Rusty wing-bars

Immature Similar to female, but 1st winter birds are more rufous.

[edit] Similar Species

FemalePhoto © by bobsofpaCape May NWR, New Jersey, USA, Sept. 2008
Photo © by bobsofpa
Cape May NWR, New Jersey, USA, Sept. 2008

This large Cardinaline Bunting is often mistaken for an Indigo Bunting, which does not have the rusty 'shoulders' seen as wing bars in flight, or the large beak as indicated by the name: grosbeak.

[edit] Distribution

Southern United States north to central California, South Dakota, southern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Casual north of regular range. Winters south to Panama.

[edit] Taxonomy

This species has in the past been placed in genus Guiraca

[edit] Subspecies

MalePhoto © by digishooterKern Co. California, USA, June 2017
Photo © by digishooter
Kern Co. California, USA, June 2017

This is a polytypic species[1] consisting of 7 subspecies.

  • P. c. salicaria: Grinnell, 1911
  • North-central [[California and western Nevada to north-western Baja; winters to Guerrero
  • P. c. interfusa: Dwight & Griscom, 1927
  • South-western US to north-eastern Baja and north-western Mexico; winters to Honduras
  • P. c. deltarhyncha: Van Rossem, 1938
  • Coastal western Mexico (southern Sinaloa and Durango to Oaxaca)
  • P. c. caerulea: Linnaeus, 1758
  • P. c. eurhyncha: Coues, 1874
  • Eastern Mexico (Coahuila to Nuevo León, southern Tamaulipas and Oaxaca)
  • P. c. chiapensis: Nelson, 1898
  • P. c. lazula: Lesson, 1842

[edit] Habitat

Shrubby fields, open habitat with scattered trees, scrub, thickets, cultivated lands, woodland edges, overgrown fields, hedgerows.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes insects, snails, spiders, seeds, grains, and fruits. Its large bill can manage large seeds, like corn, and large insects like grasshoppers.

[edit] Breeding

The nest is built low in small trees and shrubs. It is a compact cup of bark, rootlets, twigs, and other fibrous material. The clutch consists of 3-5 pale blue eggs; incubation takes 11-12 days, followed by fledging at 9-10 days.

Blue Grosbeak nests are sometimes parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from
  2. ITIS

[edit] External Links


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