Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) - Wiki
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[Photo] Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus). Female (left), male (right). Offset reproduction of acrylic painting. Date: circa 1974. Author: Bob Hines, United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Source: "Wildlife portrait series", Govt Doc no: I 49.71:3 and others. Public Domain--original work of United States federal government.
The Black-headed Grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus, is a medium-size seed-eating bird in the same family as the Northern Cardinal, the Cardinalidae. It is sometimes considered conspecific with the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus, with which it hybridises on the Great Plains.
The 19 cm long, 47 g weight Black-headed Grosbeak is a migratory bird, with nesting grounds from southwestern British Columbia, through the western half of the United States, into central Mexico. It occurs as an accidental further south in Central America.
The Black-headed Grosbeak's approximate length is 18-19 cm or 6-1/2 to 7-3/4 inches in length and is similar in size to a Common Starling. As per its name the male has a black head. It also has black wings and tail with prominent white patches. Its breast is dark to tawny orange in color. Its belly is yellow. The female has a brown head, neck and back with sparrow-like black streaks. She also has white streaks down the middle of her head, over her eyes and on her cheeks. Her breast is white and her wings and tail are greyish-brown with two white wing bars and yellowish wing edges.
The Black-headed Grosbeak prefers to live in deciduous and mixed wooded areas. It likes to be in areas where there are large trees as well as thick bushes, such as patches of broadleaved trees and shrubs within conifer forests, including streamside corridors, river bottoms, lakeshores, wetlands, and suburban areas. It also seems to avoid coniferous vegetation.
Nests are built by the female among the dense foliage on an outer branch of tall broadleaved trees or shrubs, 3-35’ above ground and are in the shape of an open saucer. They will occasionally build in dense shrubs such as blackberry. They are made of fine grass, rootlets twigs, bark and conifer needles. The nest is often lined with rootlets, hair, and fine plant material. The female lays 2-5 pale green, blue or grey eggs that are spotted with reddish and dark brown. The eggs are incubated by the male and female for 12-14 days. After the eggs have hatched the fledglings leave the nest in about 11 or 12 days, however they are unable to fly for another two weeks. The young are fed by both adults. The Black-headed Grosbeak's monogamy is under study, but pair bonds generally last for only one breeding season. They typically have one brood per season, though double-broods have been documented in foothills of the Sacramento Valley in California.
The Grosbeak’s song is a rich warble that is similar to that of an American Robin but more fluent, faster, softer, sweeter and mellow with rising and falling passages that make the song much longer than the Robin’s. The note is a sharp ik or eek. Both the male and female sing, but have different songs.
The Black-headed Grosbeak eats pine and other seeds, berries and insects, spiders and fruit. During the summer months it mostly eats spiders, snails and insects. It is one of the few birds that can safely eat the poisonous monarch butterfly. In their wintering grounds this grosbeak consumes many monarchs and many seeds. It will come to bird feeders for sunflower and other types of seed, and fruit.
Range and migration
Black-headed Grosbeaks range from the Pacific coast to the middle of the US Great Plains and from south western Canada to the mountains of Mexico. US and Canadian are highly migratory, wintering in Mexico. In the Great Plains the range of the Black-headed Grosbeak and the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks overlap and have interbred somewhat. After the breeding season, they tend to seek out berry-rich areas. They migrate south early in the fall and return to the north late in the spring and have been known to do so in flocks.
Black-headed Grosbeaks frequently sing from prominent perches. Both the male and female sing, but have different songs, and both are known to sing from the nest while incubating. When trying to court a female, males fly with their wings and tails spread. They forage in the foliage, on the ground or in low vegetation and are prominent berry eaters.
More Photos at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Pheucticus_melanocephalus
|The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.|