Description of the Blue Grosbeak

BREEDING MALE

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.

Blue Grosbeak

Female

Females have a brownish head, upperparts, and underparts.

Blue Grosbeak

Seasonal change in appearance

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

Juvenile

Indigo Buntings lack wide wing bars and have smaller bills.

Habitat

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

Diet

Blue Grosbeaks eat insects and seeds.

Behavior

Blue Grosbeaks forage on the ground or in low vegetation.

Range

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.

Vocalizations

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

Nesting

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.