English and Scientific names:

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

Number of individuals: 

one male in non-breeding plumage; cinnamon/burnt orange breast, nape, and supercilium; no streaking on breast; one large white wing spot on greater coverts; one white wing bar on primary coverts; auriculars black; crown cinnamon/burnt orange on top with black stripe; under tail coverts and vent white   

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

 Jefferson Parish

Specific Locality:

Lizette Wrotenís backyard Colonial Ln off of River Rd

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

seen the day before by Cathy DiSalvo

Reporting observer and address:

12:30 pm

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Mary Mehaffey

Folsom, LA

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Glenn Ousset, Cathy DiSalvo, Janine Robin, Lizette Wroten; Bob Eble

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

sunny day; bird observed in sunlight on leafless branch and in shade on different leafless branch; and in shade on feeder

Optical equipment: 

Alpen 8 x 42 fully multi coated binoculars 2 yrs old in excellent condition

Distance to bird(s): 

25 ft at one point (feeder) and 50 ft in bushes

Duration of observation:

12 minutes


rectangular backyard enclosed with evergreen planting hedge and with an open cut grass area and an old live oak canopy on the perimeter. River Rd levee across the street with deciduous bature.

Behavior of bird: 

bird was first noticed high in a holly tree about 7 ft high on the backyard boundary.  It would stay perched for about a minute or so then move to another lower bush until it ultimately landed on a black oil feeder and then peeled and ate the seeds while we quietly watched.  It also did fly under the bush hedge where it was difficult to see.  We could see the movement of the bird while it was on the ground and then it flew to a diff!
 erent bush in an area without leaves and could observe it for a few minutes.    


Bird had Grosbeak type bill, pale color; about the size of a Summer Tanager; plump bird with Grosbeak shape with thick neck; dark oval eye; gray legs


The bird did not call at all

Similar species:

First winter male Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a similar species that has peachy colored breast with streaking on the top and sides of the breast.  The bird we saw had a uniform cinnamon/burnt orange colored breast with no streaking.  The Rose-breasted Grosbeak also has a white supercilium and this bird had the same cinnamon/burnt orange color on the supercilium as well as its nape indicating that it was a Black-headed Grosbeak 

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

four good photographs were taken by myself Mary Mehaffey; will attach photos

Previous experience with this species: 

Have seen this species 5 times in Arizona (Miller Canyon, Mt. Lemon, Ramsy Canyon Preser!ve,French Joe Canyon, Carr Canyon) and twice in Texas (Davis Mts, Big Bend National Park) 

Identification aids:

Used National Geographic and Sibley\'s Field Guides

This description is written from: 

Description is written from notes made after the observation  2/20/2010 and from memory

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


100% certain of id

Date and time: 

2/23/2010  6:00 pm