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Merlin Bird ID

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    Evening Grosbeak

    Silhouette GrosbeaksGrosbeaks

    Evening Grosbeak

    Coccothraustes vespertinus
    • ORDER: Passeriformes
    • FAMILY: Fringillidae
    Basic Description

    A heavyset finch of northern coniferous forests, the Evening Grosbeak adds a splash of color to winter bird feeders every few years, when large flocks depart their northern breeding grounds en masse to seek food to the south. The yellow-bodied, dusky-headed male has an imposing air thanks to his massive bill and fierce eyebrow stripe. The female is more subtly marked, with golden highlights on her soft gray plumage. This declining species is becoming uncommon, particularly in the eastern United States.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Evening GrosbeakRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    It’s hard to predict where in the western and northeastern U.S. Evening Grosbeaks will show up in any given winter. When they move into an area, they’re very likely to show up at platform feeders offering sunflower seeds, particularly near forested areas at higher elevations. Out in the woods, you’ll have better luck finding a flock if you listen for their running patter of call notes, which can be sweet, burry, or sharp. In summer you’ll need to be in northern North America or in the mountains of the West, where Evening Grosbeaks breed in coniferous forests. At this time they are harder to find as they forage and nest high in trees, travel in smaller groups, and make less noise.

    Other Names
    • Picogrueso Norteño (Spanish)
    • Gros-bec errant (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Although they may not visit your backyard every year, Evening Grosbeaks show up irregularly at feeders during the winter. They eat sunflower seeds and are also attracted to the seeds, berries, and buds of trees and shrubs—especially maples. They are fairly large birds and they often travel in sizeable flocks, so they often use platform feeders as opposed to tube 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.

    • Cool Facts