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Blue Grosbeak

Passerina caerulea

Most scientists consider the Blue Grosbeak more closely related to buntings than to the Cardinal/Grosbeak complex. These birds breed coast-to-coast across southern USA, further north in the Mississippi Valley, and in to northern Mexico, often raising two broods per season. They spend winters in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, where some stay year-round. Their preferred habitat is shrubs and scrubby brushlands.

Science has divided this species into seven subspecies. These are regionally different from each other, three of which spend time in the USA, while the others spread their populations through Mexico and Central America.

First year males often show blue on their heads like their fathers, but cinnamon-colored bodies like their mothers. Despite my many encounters with these birds, I never met a first year male before visiting Texas in the spring of 2020. Though not as showy as their bright blue dads, they are still something wonderful to behold.

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