Blue grosbeak

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Blue grosbeak
Guiraca caeruleaAAP086CB.jpg
Male (upper), female (lower)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Passerina
Species: P. caerulea
Binomial name
Passerina caerulea
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The blue grosbeak (Passerina caerulea, formerly Guiraca caerulea),[2] is a medium-sized seed-eating bird in the same family as the northern cardinal, "tropical" or New World buntings, and "cardinal-grosbeaks" or New World grosbeaks.

The male blue grosbeak is a beautiful bird, being almost entirely deep blue. The female is mostly brown. Both sexes are distinguished by their large, deep bill and double wing bars. These features, as well as the grosbeak's relatively larger size, distinguish this species from the indigo bunting. Length can range from 14 to 19 cm (5.5 to 7.5 in) and wingspan is from 26 to 29 cm (10 to 11 in).[3][4] Body mass is typically from 26 to 31.5 g (0.92 to 1.11 oz).[5]

This is a migratory bird, with nesting grounds across most of the southern half of the United States and much of northern Mexico, migrating south to Central America and in very small numbers to northern South America; the southernmost record comes from eastern Ecuador. It eats mostly insects, but it will also eat snails, spiders, seeds, grains, and wild fruits. The blue grosbeak forages on the ground and in shrubs and trees.


This species is found in partly open habitat with scattered trees, riparian woodland, scrub, thickets, cultivated lands, woodland edges, overgrown fields, or hedgerows. It nests in a low tree or bush or a tangle of vegetation, usually about 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) above ground, often at the edge of an open area.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Passerina caerulea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Evolution of a Citation by Richard C. Banks - USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center". 
  3. ^ "Blue Grosbeak". 
  4. ^ "eNature: FieldGuides: Species Detail". 
  5. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0849342585.

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