Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Rose-breasted grosbeak or as it is scientifically called, Pheucticus ludovicianus, is about 7.25 inches long and has a large, cone shaped, pale colored bill. The female grosbeak looks similar to the female-plumaged Black-headed grosbeak but has an orange-brown breast with streaks only on the side of its body. The Grosbeak lives near open woodlands that are near to water. It also likes thick brush or small trees, large trees, marsh borders, gardens, parks and overgrown pastures.

The adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak has a rose red, triangular shape patch on its white breast. The upper parts of its body and head are all black and the under parts are white. The wings have white patches and are lined with rose red. His black tail feathers are speckled with white spots. In winter and autumn the male becomes browner and dull in colour. The juvenile bird has a similar coloring to the male’s winter and autumn colour.

The adult female Grosbeak has black and white stripes on its crown above its eyes. The under parts of the bird are white with extensive streaking, whereas the upper parts are a dark grey. Where the male has a rose red lining the female has a more yellow to yellowish-orange wing lining. The juvenile has an orangey-brown breast and the juvenile female has similar coloring to the adult female.

The Grosbeak mating system is monogamous and so the male and female will pair off and have between three to five pale green, blue eggs. During the courtship the male will fly after the female while singing to her; he will then crouch down and spread and droop his wings; spread his tail, withdraw his head with his nape against his back; once in position he will start singing and waving his head and body in an erratic dance.

The cup-shaped nest is made up of loose twigs, rough plant material and then lined with thin twigs, hair and rootlets. The nest is normally 5-15 feet above the ground and is built by the female with help from the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The incubation of the eggs takes up to two weeks and will be looked after by both the male and female bird. The development of the chicks is altricial, which means that they are immobile and eyes closed. Once the young hatch it takes just less than two weeks before they will leave the nest.

A Brightly Colored and Lively Courtship Display

June 5, 2008 by  
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Found in and around the Amazon basin in the Northern regions of South America, the male Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock never fails to impress. This fascinating bird sports an orange-colored fan-like crest with a chestnut stripe running along the edge, accentuating the flawless semicircular shape. From his crest down to his claws the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock is wrapped in shades of orange plumage. His wings, which are black with a splash of white, are covered by a layer of fluffy golden-orange feathers, giving him the appearance of being wrapped in a shawl.

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The Elegant Crane

May 22, 2008 by  
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Almost every culture has at least one story about the majestic crane and they have long been depicted in art in different countries. These large birds have long legs and necks and so they stand out from other birds very easily. There are also representatives of this group of birds on every continent with the exception of two: Antarctica and South America. Cranes belong to the Gruiformes bird order and are grouped into the family ‘Gruidae’.

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