3 Types of Grosbeaks in Georgia! (ID Guide)

What kinds of grosbeaks can you find in Georgia?

Common Grosbeaks in Georgia

The name “Grosbeak” may imply that their beaks are gross, but they are anything but that.

In actuality, the meaning of the name comes from the Latin words “gros” and “beccus,” meaning “large beaks.” This name is fitting since these beautiful birds rely on their thick bills to crack open nuts and seeds.

Luckily, all types of grosbeaks in Georgia visit bird feeders, so you have a good chance of attracting multiple species to your yard. If you’re lucky, you may even see a grosbeak at my bird feeding station right now! I have a LIVE high-definition camera watching my bird feeders 24/7. 🙂

Here are the THREE types of grosbeaks that live in Georgia:


#1. Evening Grosbeak

  • Coccothraustes vespertinus

Grosbeaks species that live in Georgia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Both sexes have a large, thick, conical beak and are the size of an American Robin.
  • Males are yellow and black with a prominent white patch in the wings and a bright yellow stripe over the eye.
  • Females are mostly gray with white and black wings and a greenish-yellow tinge on their neck and sides.

These birds are one of the most beautiful grosbeaks in Georgia!

Typically, Evening Grosbeaks are found in the northern coniferous forests, and in winter, they can be found pretty much anywhere in northern Georgiaas they search for food.

Evening Grosbeaks are known for their large and strong bill. They use their robust bills to crack open seeds that other birds are unable to open.

Evening Grosbeak Range Map

evening grosbeak range map

In fact, this species will show up at feeders far south of their normal winter range, which provides a treat for backyard birders. You can attract them with sunflower seeds placed onto a large platform feeder, allowing ample room for them to land and eat.

Interestingly, Evening Grosbeaks don’t sing songs! But they do have some simple calls, including sweet, piercing notes and burry chirps, which you can hear below!

YouTube video

#2. Rose-breasted Grosbeak

  • Pheucticus ludovicianus

Georgia Grosbeaks species

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Stocky birds with a large, triangular bill. About the size of an American Robin.
  • Males have black backs and wings, with a distinctive red mark on their white breast.
  • Females are heavily streaked with a white eyebrow and a pale bill.

It’s easy to see how these beautiful grosbeaks got their name. One look at the males, and you’ll immediately notice the bright red plumage topping their white breasts. On the other hand, females can be difficult to identify, as they look similar to many other birds.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are common visitors to feeders in Georgia!

They use their huge triangular bill to crack open sunflower seeds. I’ve never seen one of these grosbeaks use a tube feeder; I don’t think the perches provide enough space for them. So instead, the best feeders to attract them are hoppers, platforms, or trays.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Range Map

Rose-breasted Grosbeak males sing to establish territories and attract females. Unfortunately, when the female shows up, the male sometimes plays hard-to-get, rejecting her for a day or two before finally accepting her as a mate! But to make up for this behavior, they give the females a break and help sit on the nest to keep the eggs warm.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are known for their beautiful song. It sounds similar to an American Robin but better! Listen for a long series of notes that rise and fall. If you hear one, make sure to look for the male singing from an elevated perch.

YouTube video

#3. Blue Grosbeak

  • Passerina caerulea

Blue grosbeak male and female

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Stocky grosbeak with a huge, triangular bill.
  • Males are deep, rich blue with a tiny black mask in front of the eyes, chestnut wing bars, and a black and silver beak.
  • Females are primarily cinnamon-brown. The color is richer on the head, paler on the underparts; their tails are bluish.

Blue Grosbeaks visit bird feeders in Georgia that offer sunflower seeds. To help them feel more protected, place your feeding station near shrubs and other brush. You’ll typically hear them singing before you see them.

Blue Grosbeaks Range Map

Blue Grosbeaks are very shy, especially around humans, which makes them challenging to observe. Interestingly, both males and females have a weird habit of twitching their tails sideways, although the reason for this behavior is unknown.

Blue Grosbeaks have also been known to “sidle,” where they walk sideways along branches, as seen in parrots.

Listen below as the male Blue Grosbeak sings a musical warble that lasts for 2 or 3 seconds.

YouTube video

Which of these grosbeaks have you seen before in Georgia?

Leave a comment below!

The range maps above were generously shared with permission from Birds of the World, published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I use their site OFTEN to learn new information about birds!

To learn more about other birds that live near you, check out these guides!

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5 Comments

  1. Observed 2 rose crested males on a hanging plate feeder and a female nearby in Albertville, AL. backyard. Tried to get a pic of this beautiful bird but they appear to be quite shy.

  2. Seeing numerous Rose-breasted Grosbeaks over the last week on our Audubon Sanctuary property near Jasper Ga. On tube feeder and deck rail with sunflower seeds. This am, five males and several females gathered on the deck rail. Wonder if they are about to continue migration ?

  3. 5 days ago the male rose breasted grosbeak showed up at my bird feeders in Warner Robins. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of him. And no idea of what he was until watching the Canadian show Murdock Mysteries where a couple of bird watchers spotted one. He visits everyday so far so I am hoping to see a female. In the many years I’ve had bird feeders out this s the first one. Would love to have him keep returning
    I’ve taken several pictures of him
    Cathy

    1. I live in Peachtree City and currently have two pair coming to feeders. This is a first for me as well. I hope they delay their migration so we can keep enjoying them!

      1. I’m in Fayetteville. Have at least two rose-breasted grosbeak here as well. It’s a first! Beautiful.