Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)


French: Guiraca bleu German: Azurfink Spanish: Azulillo grande

Loxia cærulea


, 1758,

South Carolina, USA


Sometimes separated in monospecific Guiraca, but DNA evidence does not support this. Race deltarhyncha rather poorly differentiated, and sometimes synonymized with eurhyncha. Proposed race mesophila (Texas) included in nominate. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. salicaria (Grinnell, 1911) – SW USA (C & S California, WC Nevada and SW Arizona) and extreme NW Mexico (NW Baja California); migrates to S Baja California and W Mexico (S Sonora S to Guerrero and Morelos).
  • P. c. interfusa (Dwight & Griscom, 1927) – W USA (SC North Dakota S to Arizona and New Mexico) and N Mexico (C Sinaloa, Durango and N Coahuila); migrates to W Mexico (Sonora and Durango) S to Honduras.
  • P. c. caerulea (Linnaeus, 1758) – E USA from Kansas, Kentucky, SE Pennsylvania and S New Jersey S to C & S Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and C Florida; migrates to E & S Mexico S to Panama and West Indies.
  • P. c. eurhyncha (Coues, 1874) – C & S Mexico from S Tamaulipas S to Oaxaca.
  • P. c. deltarhyncha (van Rossem, 1938) – Pacific slope in Mexico from S Sonora S to Guerrero.
  • P. c. chiapensis (Nelson, 1898) – S Mexico (E Oaxaca and Chiapas) E to S Guatemala.
  • P. c. lazula (Lesson, 1842) – S Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras S through Pacific drainage to NW Costa Rica.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–19 cm; male 22–40·5 g, female 23–32·5 g. Breeding plu­mage attained through feather wear; after breeding, moults into fresh plumage (... read more


    Song, from elevated perch or within cover, a series of rich warbled notes, in sequence lasting for... read more


    In E North America inhabits forest edge, regenerating farmland and open-pit mines, streamsides etc... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mixed animal and vegetable; in one extensive study of stomach contents of birds of all ages, 32% vegetable and 68% animal. Seeds of... read more


    Virtually all studies have been on North American populations; few data on Middle American races. First egg dates from mid-Apr in... read more


    N races (nominate, salicaria and interfusa) totally migratory; other races appear... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Reasonably common, but never regarded as an abundant species. Fairly common over much of its USA range; fairly common to common... read more

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 November 2019).