Rose-breasted Grosbeak Habits

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is often considered one of the prettiest birds to arrive in late spring with its Robin-like song being sung from the treetops.

Many bird watchers claim this bird as their favorite after seeing it for the first time.

Its treetop song is the beginning of claiming territories, attracting a mate, and raising another nest of young in a new season.


male rose-breasted grosbeak

Male Rose-breasted

The Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak Has a black head and back with a deep rose triangle on his breast. The male's belly is white.

Females are drab in comparison, mostly plain brown with two white wing bars and a prominent white eye stripe.

With orange-yellow wing linings and heavy streaking on a white breast, she is sometimes mistaken for a large sparrow.

Both have the familiar heavy conical bill common to these birds.



These birds are considered monogamous (one male to one female). The courtship consists of the male singing while flying to attract a female.

Sometimes a courtship dance is offered by the male for the female.

The dance consists of tipping the head back and holding his tail in an upright position and spread out. He then wags his head and body.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Nesting Habits

Both males and females build the nest. The nest is cup-shaped and built using fine twigs, rootlets, and weeds.

The nest is located in a tree 5 to 25 feet above the ground. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks prefer saplings, shrubs, and vines as nesting sites.

The female lays 3 to 5 eggs that are blue-green with brown markings.

Incubation last 13 to 14 days. Both males and females incubate the eggs. Eggs are rarely unattended.

female rose-breasted grosbeak eating sunflower seeds

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Young fledge in 9 to 12 days after hatching. Both adult birds feed the young. Typically only 1 brood is raised each season.

Feeding Habits

In the wild, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks glean food from tree foliage. Insects, seeds, tree buds, and fruit are eaten.

Spring is the time to feed these birds. At your feeders, offer Safflower or Black-oil sunflower seed.


Predators at the nest site include Blue Jays, Grackles, snakes, and raccoons.

Adult Rose-breasted Grosbeaks will mob Blue Jays and Grackles that enter their nesting territory.

Predators of adults include Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks.

Learn More About All The Different Types of Grosbeaks

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