Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Passerina caerulea
Population size
7.7-24 mln
Life Span
6 yrs
26-31.5 g
14-19 cm
26-29 cm

Blue grosbeaks are medium-sized colorful songbirds found in North and Central America. Males are almost entirely deep blue in color while females are mostly brown. Both sexes are distinguished by their large, deep bill and double wing bars.


Blue grosbeaks breed across most of the southern half of the United States and much of northern Mexico, migrating south to Central America and in very small numbers to northern South America. These birds live in partly open habitat with scattered trees, riparian woodland, scrub, thickets, cultivated lands, woodland edges, overgrown fields, or hedgerows.

Blue Grosbeak habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Blue grosbeaks are social birds and often gather in flocks to feed before migrations. Mating pairs spend most of the time together. Blue grosbeaks are active during the day spending most of their time foraging. They forage on the ground by hopping awkwardly or flying above the ground; they also forage in shrubs and in trees. Blue grosbeaks are shy birds and if alarmed usually dive into dense cover. These birds communicate with each other vocally but only males are known to sing. They sing to attract a female and to proclaim territory to other males.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Blue grosbeaks are carnivores (insectivores); they eat mostly insects, but will also take snails, spiders, seeds, grains, and even wild fruits.

Mating Habits

11-12 days
9-10 days
3-5 eggs

Blue grosbeaks are serially monogamous and pairs remain together during the breeding season. The breeding season usually lasts from early April to late August. These birds nest in a low tree or bush or a tangle of vegetation, usually about 1-3 m (3.3-9.8 ft) above ground and often at the edge of an open area or near roads. The female builds the nest which is made with grass, twigs, leaves and lined with fine grass or animal hair. After the nest is ready the female lays 3 to 5 eggs and incubates them within 11-12 days. The chicks are altricial; they are hatched with reddish bodies, with brownish-gray down, and closed eyes. They are fed mostly by the female until they fledge and leave the nest; this occurs 9 to 10 days after hatching. When the female begins building her second nest, the male may continue to feed the young for some time more.


Population threats

There are no major threats to the Blue grosbeak at present.

Population number

According to the What Bird resource, the total Blue grosbeak population size is around 7,700,000 birds. According to the All About Birds resource, the total breeding population size of the species is 24 million individuals. Overall, currently, Blue grosbeaks are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are increasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Blue grosbeaks belong to the same family as the northern cardinal, "tropical" or New World buntings, and "cardinal-grosbeaks" or New World grosbeaks.
  • Blue grosbeaks are named for their large beaks and for the males' blue plumage.
  • The Lazuli bunting is the closest relative of the Blue grosbeak.
  • Blue grosbeaks sometimes use snakeskin when building their nests; it is thought to help scare off predators.


1. Blue Grosbeak on Wikipedia -
2. Blue Grosbeak on The IUCN Red List site -

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