Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Silhouette GrosbeaksGrosbeaks

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Pheucticus ludovicianus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Cardinalidae
Basic Description

Bursting with black, white, and rose-red, male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are like an exclamation mark at your bird feeder or in your binoculars. Females and immatures are streaked brown and white with a bold face pattern and enormous bill. Look for these birds in forest edges and woodlands. Listen, too, for their distinctive voices. They sound like American Robins, but listen for an extra sweetness, as if the bird had operatic training; they also make a sharp chink like the squeak of a sneaker.

More ID Info
image of range map for Rose-breasted GrosbeakRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

A good way to find Rose-breasted Grosbeaks is to listen for them. The song sounds like an American Robin in an unusually good mood—a long sing-songing string of sweet whistles. Once you hear one, follow the sound until you walk up under his song perch and look for his black, white, and red plumage. Also pay attention for squeaky chink calls—so sharp-sounding that they’re very distinctive. Both males and females frequently give this call. In flight, look for a distinctive pattern of big white spots in their dark wings.

Other Names
  • Picogrueso Pechirrosado (Spanish)
  • Cardinal à poitrine rose (French)

Backyard Tips

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks often visit bird feeders, where they eat sunflower seeds as well as safflower seeds and raw peanuts. Even if you live outside their summer range you may still catch one visiting during spring or fall migration if you keep your feeders stocked.

  • Cool Facts