Rose-breasted Grosbeak: A Colorful Addition
Its official name is Pheucticus ludovicianus, but rose-breasted grosbeak rolls off the tongue much easier. This beautiful bird decided to pay us a visit today. And it was a truly welcome surprise considering these birds are more often heard than seen. It stuck out due to its bright red patch on the breast and contrasting black and white plumage. Formerly, we only encountered this species once, and it was a non-breeding male. But today my husband and I were awed by the magnificent color combination of an adult breeding male.
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are known for their ivory, pinkish bill, black head, bright red triangle on the breast, black and white wings and rump, red wing lining, and white underparts. Our flying friend definitely fit the bill (pun intended). Non-breeding males, like the one we already have a picture of are a much duller version of its breeding counterpart. Adult females are a combination of white, buff, and brown streaks and a paler bill. One look at their bill and you can tell they are part of the Cardinalidae family, which includes cardinals.
The rose-breasted grosbeak likes moist wetlands next to open fields with tall shrubs. They also frequent old and overgrown orchards. Our yard is far from the aforementioned, but we do live one house away from a heavily wooded area with a creek. There are a lot of arborvitaes around the perimeter of our yard and various shrubs.
What It Eats
Grosbeaks have a variety of foods they like to eat. They include, but are not limited to, potato beetles and larvae, weed seeds, wild fruits and buds, berries, and insects in bushes and trees. This information makes me wonder if I attracted the rose-breasted grosbeak by throwing some blueberries a little past their prime near the feeders this morning. However, the bird was eating from one of our feeders. The feeder is filled with a combination of sunflower and safflower seeds.
Alderfer, Jonathan, ed. National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: New Jersey. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2005. Print.
Brinkley, Edward, S. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America: New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2007. Print.Bull, John, and John Farrand, Jr. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region. Revised ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. Print.