English and Scientific names:

Black-headed Grosbeak

Pheucticus melanocephalus

Number of individuals: 

1 male, first winter 



Specific Locality:

Peveto Woods Sanctuary along entrance road between blacktop and parking area on left, but south side of road

Date(s) when observed:

24 October 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

late afternoon around 4:20 pm

Reporting observer and address:

B. Mac. Myers III
Eunice, LA

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


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

about an hour later that afternoon, Paul Conover saw the bird

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

Excellent. late afternoon sun behind me as I was looking east

Optical equipment: 

10x42 Eagle optics, very good

Distance to bird(s): 

maybe 20 yards?

Duration of observation:

perhaps two minutes?


Small tree or shrub next to a thicket of giant ragweed; when it flew, it flew into the ragweed

Behavior of bird: 

Simply sitting on exposed limb, then flew into ragweed


Upon first looking at it through binos, it was obviously a Pheucticus grosbeak and almost as immediately obviously a black-headed. I just looked at it a moment or two to be sure of what I was seeing, then concentrated on getting photos. Thick grosbeak bill, gray, lighter lower, slightly darker upper. Sides of crown dark chocolate-dusky, with bold white superciliary, and below that a dark auricular patch from bill back. Below the auricular and bordering it was a white malar or moustachial stripe. The throat, breast, and most of the belly were a sort of dull rusty orange. It appeared to be suffused with or maybe underlain by some yellow feathering. The wings were very dark chocolate-dusky with bold white wingbars and some other white spotting which was most noticeable when the bird flew. I did not note the rump or back in the field.


not heard

Similar species:

The bird looks to be a \"classic\" first winter male BHGR, and does not appear to show any evidence of hybridism

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

three photos by me, already submitted earlier to LBRC

Previous experience with this species: 

some in LA, many out west; lots of experience with RBGR and plenty of time looking at odd ones/looking for BHGR

Identification aids:

none at time; later Sibley, Geo, etc.

This description is written from: 

very brief notes at time; memory and looking at photos

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



Date and time: 

16 Feb. 2010