Guiraca caerulea
(Blue Grosbeak)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Cardinalidae
Family Description: Cardinals, Grosbeaks, & Buntings

Physical Description:
6-7 1/2" (15-19 cm). Brilliant blue with small black mask, and two dark rusty wing bars. Female is cinnamon brown with gray wings and pale blue rump.

Similar Species- Indigo Bunting, Brown- headed Cowbird

Song:
A finch-like warble, only with shorter notes. Call is a thin tchink.

Distribution:
Breeds from central California, southern Nevada, Utah, southern Colorado, the Dakotas, and portions of the midwest and mid-Atlantic states, south to northern Baja California, southern Arizona, Costa Rica, Gulf coast, and central Florida. Winters from southern Baja and northern Mexico, south to Panama and portions of South America.

Habitat:
Found in partly-open situations with scattered trees, and in riparian woodlands, scrub, thickets, cultivated lands, woodland edges, overgrown fields, and hedgerows. In Idaho, nests in hayfields or chickory, Russian olive, willow, and wild rose thickets next to sagebrush foothills.

Diet:
In general, eats mostly insects, but will also consume snails, spiders, seeds, grains, and wild fruits.

Ecology:
Nests in shrub, or sometimes in tree. Forms flocks prior to migrationClick word for definition. Forages on ground and in shrubs and trees. Obtains grit from roadsides or streams. Species is a rare breeder in Idaho.

Reproduction:
Female incubatesClick word for definition 2-5 eggs (usually 4) in northern range, for 11-12 days. Young are tended by both parents, and leave nest at 9-13 days. Female may produce 2 broodsClick word for definition in southern range; male feeds fledged young if female re-nests.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBX63010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,NZN

Important State References:
Rich, T. 1981. Second breeding locale for the blue grosbeak in Idaho. Murrelet 62:91-92.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.