Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Pheucticus ludovicianus
Range and Density Map

These birds winter in southern Mexico and south into northwestern South America. When spring comes, they migrate north to breed in territories with broad-leaf deciduous woodlands that stretch from New England and southeast Canada and west through the Great Lakes and northwest through southern Manitoba, central Saskatchewan, most of Alberta, a little in northeastern British Columbia and somewhat in south central Northwest Territories.

Many bird lovers consider the song of these birds to be the finest in the world and liken it to a robin with opera training! I’m more familiar with its western cousin, the Black-Headed Grosbeak, with whom it shares many traits (beauty of song, for one).

I first met this species in 2005, while driving through Canada on my way to Alaska, but I wasn’t able to capture its image. It wasn’t until early June 2015 that I got my first photo of a vagrant female bird at Malheur NWR in Oregon. Finally, in March 2020, I met them as they migrated through south Texas on their way to their breeding grounds. During the 2021 spring migration on South Padre Island, I had the pleasure of meeting more of these gorgeous birds.

Modern taxonomists regard the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak as monotypic (i.e. there are no subspecies).


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