English and Scientific names:

Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus

Number of individuals: 

one individual, female

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

200 Soulanges Road at backyard feeder

Date(s) when observed:

6 days between 24 January 2008 and 20 February

Time(s) of day when observed:  

7:30 to 10:00 and 16:00-17:00

Reporting observer and address:

Stacey Scarce Lafayette, LA  70508

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


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


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

Direct sunlight on bird as well as shadows on sunny
and cloudy days.  Color and markings easily seen in sunlight.

Optical equipment: 


Distance to bird(s): 

20 to 30 feet

Duration of observation:

variable, from 2 seconds to 5 minutes


Feeders hanging from black willow, with dead ragweed, water
oaks, and hackberry along fence line.  Field and forest behind yard was
leveled last summer for residential area.

Behavior of bird: 

Bird was very skittish.  If I moved the blinds in my
bathroom, it left, unlike the cardinals, finches and blackbirds that
didn't mind the blind movement at all.  In 2005 and 2006, I observed
male black-headed grosbeaks at this same feeding area and they too were
as skittish as the present bird. Observed bird feeding at hanging feeder
with cardinals and purple finches.  Observed bird feeding on ground
under feeders with cardinals, purple finches and red-wing blackbirds.


I first noticed the body shape, eyebrow and burnt orange
and yellow colors. Very close in size to cardinals and red-wing
blackbird but larger than purple finch.  Body rather chunky with a
stubby neck and large seed eating bill.  Eyebrow was bright yellow where
it meets mandible and gradually turns to white where it meets nape.
White wing bars.  Sides and breast were burnt orange with light
streaking.  Belly was bright yellow with no streaking. Feet and legs
were black.


Did not hear.

Similar species:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak imm. male and female were
eliminated by bright yellow belly.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Photos are attached and were
taken by me.

Previous experience with this species: 

I have had only males at my feeders but have
identified female and imm. males in AZ and CA

Identification aids:

at time of observation:
Field Guide to the Birds of NA
Sibley's Guide

after observation: Field Guide to the Birds of NA
Sibley's Guide
Thayer's eField Guide
Bill Fontenot
Steve Cardiff

This description is written from: 

Notes taken after observation and

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


No.  I relied
on the expertise of Steve Cardiff because I could not positively ID the


Stacey Scarce

Date and time: 

05 March 2008, 11:22am