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Description of the Blue Grosbeak


The Blue Grosbeak is sexually dimorphic, but both genders have two wide, reddish wing bars and a very thick bill.

Males have a blue head, upperparts, and underparts.  Length: 7 in.  Wingspan: 11 in.

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak m gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Females have a brownish head, upperparts, and underparts.

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak f gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Seasonal change in appearance

Fall immatures resemble fall females, but are more reddish-brown. First spring males are mostly brownish mottled with blue.


Indigo Buntings lack wide wing bars and have smaller bills.


Blue Grosbeaks inhabit woodland edges and brushy fields, as well as roadsides and thickets.


Blue Grosbeaks eat insects and seeds.


Blue Grosbeaks forage on the ground or in low vegetation.


Blue Grosbeaks breed across the southern two-thirds of the U.S. They winter in Mexico and Central America. The population has increased in recent decades.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Blue Grosbeak.

Fun Facts

Blue Grosbeaks can be seen in flocks during migration and winter, though they are seen singly or in pairs during the breeding season.

Blue Grosbeaks frequently flick or spread their tails.


The song is a rich warble. A metallic "chink" call is also given.


The Blue Grosbeak’s nest is a cup of twigs, weeds, leaves, and often snakeskin or bits of paper, and is lined with finer materials. It is placed low in a tree or shrub.

Number: Usually 4.
Color: Pale blue in color.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 11-12 days and fledge at about 9-10 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.