Blue Grosbeak

photo by Phil Swanson

Guiraca caerulea
L 6 3/4″ (17 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Loud, explosive chink. Song is simple warble that rises and falls in pitch.

Description: Broad chestnut wing bars (paler in female). Large heavy bill; larger in size than similar Indigo Bunting. Male is deep blue overall with black around bill. Female is light brown overall with blue shoulder patch, grayish-blue rump, and dark tail. Juvenile resembles female. First spring males are mottled with blue and brown.

Behavior: Has habit of twitching and spreading its tail.

blue grosbeak
Habitat: Open streamside woodlands, weedy pastures, old fields with scattered saplings, and hedgerows.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon and highly local in eastern Nebraska, and rare in the Pine Ridge.

Nebraska Seasons: Uncommon spring and fall migrant and local summer resident almost across the state. Uncommon breeder statewide.

Fun Facts: The Blue Grosbeak sometimes uses snakeskin as nesting material, which is thought to scare away predators.

female Blue Grosbeak - photo by Phil Swanson Blue Grosbeak - - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
(click image for larger view)