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Pine Grosbeak


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

One of the larger members of its family, the Pine Grosbeak is a bird of the boreal forests, found across northern Eurasia and North America, and south into the mountains of western Canada and the United States. A large, unwary finch, it makes periodic winter irruptions into southern Canada and northern United States. It is the largest and rarest of the "winter finches."

Drink Birds & Beans coffee. Save our birds.
Drink Birds & Beans coffee. Save our birds.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
7.9–9.8 in
20–25 cm
13 in
33 cm
Other Names
  • Durbec des sapins (French)
  • Camachuelo picogrueso (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak gave rise to local name in Newfoundland of "mope."
  • Winter flocks may stay near a tree with abundant fruit until all of it is consumed.
  • A breeding adult Pine Grosbeak develops pouches in the floor of its mouth for carrying food to its young.
  • During most of the year, 99% of diet is vegetable matter, especially buds, seeds, and fruits of spruce, pine, juniper, elm, maple, mountain ash, apple, and crabapple. It feeds insects and spiders to its young, though, often mixed with plant foods. It drinks water or eats snow daily.


Open Woodland

  • Breeds in open coniferous forests.
  • Wintering areas determined by food availability, so found in wider variety of habitats, including urban areas.



Seeds, buds, fruit, some insects.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–5 eggs
Egg Description
Pale blue with darker dots and markings
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Open cup nest in tree

Nest Placement



Foliage Gleaner

Eats fruits by biting through and discarding the pulp and crushing the seed. Insects caught by clumsy flycatching. Eats sunflower seeds at feeders in parts of range (rarely comes to feeders in other parts of range).Found in flocks in winter; strongly territorial in breeding season. Distinctive call note often given in flight.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Status largely unknown because of difficulty of assessing populations.


  • 1.) Adkisson, C. S. 1999. Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator). in The Birds of North America, No. 456 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 2.) Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I. Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA.

Range Map Help

Pine Grosbeak Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Backyard Tips

This species often comes to bird feeders. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

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Snowbird Season. Story and photographs in Living Bird magazine.

All About Birds blog, Here’s What to Feed Your Summer Bird Feeder Visitors, July 11, 2014.