Black-headed Grosbeak

Animal Guide : Birds

Black-headed Grosbeak
Fun Fact:
"Grosbeak" comes from the French for "big beak."

What's for Lunch:
Seeds; flower buds in spring

Where's Home:
Nests along the reserve's creeks in spring and summer; flies south to Mexico for the winter

Scientific Name:
Pheucticus melanocephalus

Animal Guide : Birds


This member of the cardinal family has a stout beak and strong jaws for cracking seeds. In spring and summer, it nests in riparian areas of the reserve, singing its sweet song from the treetops. Though the male's showy black, white, and cinnamon costume contrasts with the female's much plainer outfit, these birds practice gender equality. Males and females both sit on the eggs, feed the young, sing, and defend the family's territory.


Listen to the Black-headed Grosbeak in the sound library of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library.