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Blue Grosbeak

Passerina caerulea ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CARDINALIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large, vibrantly blue bunting with an enormous silver bill and chestnut wingbars, the male Blue Grosbeak sings a rich, warbling song from trees and roadside wires. He and his cinnamon-colored mate often raise two broods of nestlings in a single breeding season. A bird of shrubby habitats, these richly colored birds can be hard to spot unless you hear them singing first. They are widespread but not abundant across the southern U.S., and are expanding their range.

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Songs

The male sings a rich, musical warble continuously for 2 or 3 seconds.

Calls

Blue Grosbeaks give loud, metallic chink calls when disturbed. They also give low, buzzy bzzt calls.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Blue Grosbeaks may be attracted to grains and seeds at feeders in shrubby backyards.

Find This Bird

Though never common during summer and despite its generally retiring habits, the openness of Blue Grosbeak habitat and the males’ propensity for singing from high, exposed perches should enable you to locate it in most of its range. Learning and listening for their burry, warbling songs makes locating Blue Grosbeaks much easier. Be sure to continue to check likely looking shrubby or old-field habitat, even if they seem to be absent in early summer—many individuals arrive quite late, even deep into July, when Blue Grosbeak can be one of the few singing birds in such habitats.