Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

Black-backed Grosbeak (Pheucticus aureoventris)


  • Species name: Black-backed Grosbeak
  • Scientific name: Pheucticus aureoventris
  • Family: Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Grosbeaks)
  • Order: Passeriformes (Songbirds)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Medium-sized songbird, about 9-10 inches (23-25 cm) long with a wingspan of 14-15 inches (36-38 cm).
  • Body shape: Stocky and compact, with a strong neck, a thick conical beak, and a relatively short tail.
  • Plumage color:

Males: Striking contrast of black back and head, bright yellow underparts, white wing bars. Black mask extends around the eyes and onto the chin.

Females: Brown-streaked head and back, duller yellow underparts, less defined wing bars.

Black legs.

Dark eyes.


  • Method of feeding: Primarily seed-eater, foraging on the ground and gleaning seeds from shrubs and trees. Also eats fruit and insects.
  • Reproduction: Builds cup-shaped nests in shrubs or trees. Lays 2-4 pale blue eggs with brown speckles. Both parents care for the young.
  • Movement: Resident in some parts of its range, migrant in others.
  • Communication: Loud and varied calls, including whistles, warbles, and chucks. Males have a complex song for defending territory and attracting mates.


  • Habitat: Open woodlands, shrublands, deserts, and canyons. Often found near water sources.
  • Diet: Seeds, fruit, insects.
  • Hunting methods: Forages on the ground, scratching and gleaning seeds from leaves and branches. May also catch insects in mid-air.

Distribution: Found in southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Black-backed Grosbeak

The Black-backed Grosbeak, a feathered bandit sporting a bib of black and a flash of gold, might seem like a common songbird at first glance. But beneath its bold looks and bustling melody lies a treasure trove of fascinating facts and adaptations that will leave you captivated by this avian seed-cracker and champion vocalist of the North American woodlands.

Masters of Seed Cracking: Don't underestimate their powerful beaks! Black-backed Grosbeaks possess specialized jaws capable of crushing even the toughest seeds. From sunflower shells to cherry pits, their beaks function like feathered nutcrackers, ensuring a never-ending feast of nutritious treats. Imagine them as feathered blacksmiths with built-in miniature anvils!

Hidden Feasting Technique: Their diet isn't just seeds. Black-backed Grosbeaks are opportunistic omnivores, readily adapting to seasonal bounty. From juicy fruits and insects to the occasional lizard or frog, their varied menu keeps them fueled for their energetic singing sessions. Think of them as feathered gourmands with built-in miniature buffets!

Unexpected Nesting Architects: Their nests are more than just twigs and leaves. Black-backed Grosbeaks weave their homes with moss, bark, and spiderwebs, adding feathers and even animal hair for warmth and insulation. Talk about feathered interior designers with built-in miniature craft kits!

Singing Champions: Forget delicate chirps; Black-backed Grosbeaks are powerful vocalists. Their songs are loud, complex, and filled with diverse whistles, trills, and even mimics of other birds. Imagine them as feathered maestros with built-in miniature orchestras!

Symbiotic Symphony: Black-backed Grosbeaks play a vital role in the ecosystem. By dispersing seeds through their droppings, they help plants spread and take root, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of the woodlands. These feathered gardeners also control insect populations, maintaining a healthy balance in their habitats.

Cultural Charmers: In some Native American cultures, the Black-backed Grosbeak is associated with strength, resilience, and the power of music. Its bold plumage and exuberant songs inspire awe and respect, making it a treasured symbol of the region's diverse ecosystems.

Unexpected Regional Variations: Did you know? Not all Black-backed Grosbeaks are the same! Different populations across North America boast subtle variations in plumage color and song dialects, adding a touch of feathered diversity to this adaptable species.