This nearly robin-sized bird differs widely from male to female. The male is the rose-breasted one, with a black head, heavy light colored beak, and white breast with a brilliant rose-red “bib.” The back is black and white. The female is brown and white, with a strong white stripe above the eye. The immature male is also brown and white; its emerging red color may be rosy or even orange.
The rose-breasted grosbeak is a foliage gleaner, roaming the treetops to find insect food. It also avidly eats seeds, fruit, and nuts, and often appears at feeders. It is a territorial bird and aggressively defends its turf. Its song sounds a bit like a robin’s, but has more variation and energy. The rose-breasted grosbeak is one of very few birds to have been documented singing while on the nest. Its nest is rather sloppily made. Sometimes only the customary location in a crook will save the eggs from falling right through to the ground!
What brings it to the SBG?
Food and cover. Insects, seeds, and fruits are in abundant supply at SBG. So far (2016) the bird has only been observed at SBG during migration season.
When can I see it?
Spring, summer, and fall. In winter it migrates to northern South America and the Yucután Peninsula.