Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

Black-headed Grosbeak was added to the Review List on 11 March 1989. Number of accepted Black-headed Grosbeak records for Louisiana = 38 as of July 2012

Accepted Records

One adult male (1980-07; formerly 89-110) on 28 Mar.-1 Apr. 1980, Orleans: New Orleans; Frederick M. Barry (ph), GB, AH. This record was reported by Barry in the 6 Apr. 1980 The Times-Picayune.

One immature male (94-49) on 28 Jan. 1979, East Baton Rouge: Baton Rouge, near the intersection of Sharp Road and Florida Boulevard; Paul M. McKenzie and Peter Osenton (ph only) (AB 33(3):290).

One female (93-66) from 17 Dec. 1993-5 Jan. 1994, Lafayette: Lafayette, Paul E. Conover (card), George O. (ph) and Nettie Broussard (FN 48(4):693; LOS 166).

Photo by Paul E. Conover

One immature male (1993-76) on 17 Dec 1993, Cameron: Willow Island, 7 mi. E of Cameron; Melvin Weber; NASFN48(2):218.

One immature male (1993-86) on 21 December 1993, Acadia: Lyons Point Gully, 4 ½ mi. E of Morse; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 159229, ph: p. 7).

One male (94-67) from "before Christmas” 1994-8 Mar. 1995, Lafayette: Lafayette (residence of Rose and Wayne Barras)(ph); Paul E. Conover (ph) (FN 49(3):263; LOS 166).

One immature male (95-144) from 7-14 Dec. 1995, Lafayette: Lafayette, Memory Lane (residence of and found by Dave Patton); Paul E. Conover (ph) (LOS 171).

One immature male (98-23) on 4-5 Jan 1998, East Baton Rouge: Baton Rouge, near junction of Nicholson Drive and Dean Lee Drive; Christopher C. Witt (LSUMZ 166073; CCW) and Christopher G. Brantley; FN 52(2): 211.

One immature male (98-24) from 10-16 Jan 1998, St. Martin: Lake Martin; Dave Patton (ph taken 11 Jan), Paul E. Conover (ph taken 10 Jan), Phillip Wallace, and Karen Fay; FN 52(2): 211. Reportedly found by Bill(?) Rizzo “a few weeks earlier” (fide Conover, Patton).

Photo by Paul E. Conover

One immature male (98-22) on 29 Jan 1998 Lafayette: Lafayette, 4002 W. Congress Street (residence of Betty Dugal); William R. Fontenot (ph, published in FN); FN 52(2): 211.

One immature male (98-09) on 9 Mar 1998, Lafayette: Lafayette, 3470 NE Evangeline Thruway; Dave Patton (ph), Judith O’Neale, and Lori Wilson (ph only); FN 52(2): 211. Reportedly present mid Feb to 15 Mar (LOS News 184: 17).

One adult male (99-47) from 9 Jan-8 Feb 1999,Vermilion: Abbeville, 1307 S. Henry Road; William R. Fontenot (ph taken 2 Feb).

One immature male (00-59) from 23 Dec 2000 to at least 20 Jan 2001, Iberia: New Iberia, 1621 Southwood Drive; Michael J. Musumeche (ph taken 20 Jan).

One immature male (2001-62) from 30 Nov-19 Dec 2001, St. Martin: Lake Martin, ca 1/2- 3/4 mi. N of levee gate; Robert C. Dobbs (ph); NAB56(1):64. NAB56(2):186 indicated the bird was a female.

Photo by Robert C. Dobbs

One (2003-05) on 5 Feb 2003, Caddo: Greenwood, 8411 Woodstock (residence of Alvin Astrup); Jeff Trahan (ph). Homeowner reported bird present 26 Jan-6 Feb; NAB57(2):215.

Up to three immature males (2004-71), first male from 8 Dec 2004, two present from 25 Dec 2004-7 Apr 2005, and a third present on 5 Apr 2005, Lafayette: Lafayette; Soulanges Road; Stacey Scarce (ph shows three males present on 5 Apr).

Photo by Stacey Scarce

One 1st basic male (2004-53) on 10 Dec 2004, Lafayette: Broussard, Zoo of Acadiana; James W. Beck.

One 1st basic female (2004-63) on 26 Dec 2004, Beauregard: DeRidder, 126 Raymond Cole Road; Matthew T. Pontiff (LSUMZ 177234, Donna L. Dittmann*).

One adult male (2005-15) from 6 Feb-4 Mar 2005, Plaquemines: Buras; Pete Cooper Jr. (ph).

One adult male (2005-30) from at least 29 Nov-6 Dec 2005, Lafayette: Lafayette, Soulanges Road; Stacey Scarce (ph); NAB60(2):245.

Photo by Stacey Scarce

One adult male (2006-19) from 7-26 Feb 2006, Lafayette: Broussard; Pete Cooper, Jr. (ph).

One (2008-29) from 19 December 2007-6 February 2008; St. Martin: Butte LaRose (residence of Jim Delahoussaye); Devin Bosler (ph on 6 Feb).

Photo by Devin Bosler

One female (2008-41) on 13 January 2008, Plaquemines: Boothville; Steven W. Cardiff and Donna L. Dittmann (ph).

One female (2008-25) from 24 January-20 February 2008, Lafayette: Lafayette; Stacey Scarce (ph).

Photo by Stacey Scarce

One (2009-88) on 24 October 2009, Cameron: Peveto Beach Woods; B. Mac Myers III (ph).

Photo by B. Mac Myers III

One (2009-79) on 1 November 2009, St. Mary: 3.5 mi. NE of Cypremort Point along Hwy. 3191; Erik I. Johnson (ph).

Photo by Erik I. Johnson

One immature male (2009-075) on 18 December 2009-1 April 2010, St. Martin: Atchafalaya River, 2 mi. S I-10, Jim Delahoussaye (ph only) and Dave Patton (ph).

Photo by Dave Patton

One immature male (2010-60) on 17-18 February 2010, Lafourche: Thibodaux, 118 Nicholls Drive, home of Donna and Curtis Duplechain; Nancy L. Newfield and Joan Garvey (ph only). Reportedly first observed by homeowners on previous day.

Photo by Joan Garvey

One immature male (2010-09) on 20-27 February 2010, Jefferson: Harahan, Colonial Club subdivision, residence of Lizette Wroten; Cathy DiSalvo, Mary Mehaffey (ph), and Tom Trenchard (ph).

Photo by Tom Trenchard

One immature male (2010-81) on 29-31 October 2010, Cameron: Peveto Beach Woods, BRAS Sanctuary; Michael J. Musumeche (ph), Devin Bosler (ph), Stephen Pagans (ph), John P. Sevenair (ph), and Thomas Finnie (ph).

Photo by Thomas Finnie

One adult male (2010-53) on 25 November 2010, Jefferson Davis: Buller, 22511 Hwy. 383; Gene Barnett (ph only).

Photo by Gene Barnett

One immature male (2010-80) 25 December 2010-1 February 2011, Jackson: Jonesboro, 109 Southeastern Drive; Jeff Webster (card only, ph).

One (2011-090) on 20 & 23 September 2011, Jefferson: River Ridge, 121 East Henfer Ave.; Craig Mineo (ph).

Photo by Craig Mineo

One immature male (2011-126) on 30 October 2011, Cameron: Johnsons Bayou, Peveto Woods Sanctuary; Rosemary Seidler (ph).

Photo by Rosemary Seidler

One immature male (2011-091) on 7 December 2011-20 February 2012, St. Tammany: Mandeville, 19170 Antenor Street; Claire Thomas (ph), Mary Mehaffey (ph), and Jay Huner.

Photo by Claire Thomas

One adult male (2012-011) on 13 February 2012, St. Bernard: Arabi, 829 Mehle Street; Bart Siegel (ph).

One immature male (2012-094) on 26 January 2012, Jefferson: Harahan, between Colonial Golf Course and Mississippi River, Lizette Wroten (ph).

Photo by Lizette Wroten

One immature male (2014-004) on 28 January 2014, Lafayette: Lafayette, 216 Loranger Dr.; Shirley Bogenrief (ph). Bird reported by homeowner to have been present for 3-4 weeks.

Photo by Shirley Bogenrief


Unaccepted Records

One adult female (90-72) on 3 Jan. 1990, Rapides: Tioga. This record illustrates the potential pitfalls of distinguishing immature male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (P. ludovicianus) from female Black-headed Grosbeaks. Immature male Rose-breasteds often have very tawny breasts with fine streaking at the sides, but most have a smattering of pink feathers (forming a patch of varying size) in the center of the chest. Unfortunately, in the field the pink feathers may "blend" into the tawny breast, creating an illusion of orange. The photo that accompanied the record showed a bird with a very "orange" breast, but, on close inspection, pink feathers were present. This is actually one of few well- documented records of a winter Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

One (90-115) on 27 Oct 1990, Cameron: [Johnsons Bayou], Holleyman Sanctuary; AB 45(1): 117. The description did not rule-out a first-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

One female or immature male (1993-75) on 26 Dec 1993, Caddo: Shreveport, Shreveport CBC. The description was considered ambiguous. Most notably, the observer did not see the breast to confirm coloration or presence of streaking.

One female (1994-14) on 23 Apr 1994, Cameron: Peveto Beach Woods; NASFN48(3):309. The under parts coloration, and especially the breast streaking, were not well described. The Committee agreed that the description did not eliminate a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

One immature male (2000-38) on 7 Nov 2000, Plaquemines: Venice, woods at radio tower. After two circulations, a majority of five members believed that the fairly rudimentary description was not adequate to support identification of this species and exclude the very similar Rose-breasted Grosbeak, despite the experience of the observer.

One first basic male (2000-062) on 23 December 2000, Orleans: New Orleans, Morrison Rd., just E of Vanderkloot. A brief observation by two observers with somewhat conflicting descriptions. Following the third circulation, a majority of Members believed that the brief and generally distant (15-30 sec at 90-150 feet) views were not adequate to support the record.

One immature male (2001-003) from 10 February-2 March 2001, Orleans: New Orleans, 5725 St. Anthony Ave. This report went to a Discussion Vote, with debate focusing on the rather rudimentary description. Although this report was certainly superficially very suggestive of a wintering immature male Black-headed Grosbeak, and it received some support through the first three circulations, the observer’s relative inexperience, brief views of the bird, and resulting vague description ultimately convinced the entire Committee to not accept the report.

One adult male (2004-038) on 14 August 2004, Beauregard: Graybow Rd. at S. end of airport on SW side of DeRidder. The description was brief, but a majority of Members consistently supported the report as being sufficient to confirm such a wellmarked bird as an adult male Black-headed Grosbeak, also citing the reporting observer’s experience. However, other Members were not as convinced by the details and also insisted that an observation on such a dramatically record-early date should be backed by photographs. After considerable deliberation, the record was not accepted following a Discussion Vote. See also LBRC 2011-116 below.

One adult male (2011-116) on 28 August 2011, Cameron: Oak Grove. Reported by an experienced observer and the details are suggestive. Nevertheless, this occurrence would be almost six weeks earlier than the next-earliest well-documented Louisiana occurrences. Black-headed Grosbeaks can be on the move during August in the W. US, however acceptance of such an early report in Louisiana should be supported by photos, not just a few seconds of observation by a single observer. The majority of Members believed the circumstances did not warrant acceptance of this exceptionally early record. See also LBRC 2004-38 above. Although it is not always possible to obtain hard-evidence of rarities, the LBRC stresses that, for any exceptionally early or late (e.g., many days or weeks beyond currently accepted date ranges) sighting of either a Review List species or a more regularly occurring non-resident species, every effort should be made to obtain hard-evidence to convincingly establish dramatically new benchmark or outlier occurrences.

One immature male (2011-122) on 1 October 2011, Orleans: New Orleans, City Park. The brief, non-binocular observation and relatively superficial description were problematic, and immature male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was not decisively eliminated as a possibility. This would represent a relatively early occurrence for either species in southern Louisiana.

One immature male (2011-123) on 20 October 2011, Jefferson: Metairie, 3016 45th St. Following a Discussion Vote, the majority of Members were unable to accept this brief, non-binocular observation.

One immature male (2013-082) on 7 October 2013, Cameron: Oak Grove, Oak Grove Sanctuary (Rutherford Motel Woods). Most Members agreed that the brevity of the observation and rudimentary description did not warrant acceptance.