Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)


French: Cardinal à poitrine rose German: Rosenbrust-Kernknacker Spanish: Picogrueso pechirrosado

Loxia ludoviciana


, 1766,

Louisiana, USA


In the past, this species and P. melanocephalus sometimes placed in a separate genus, Hedymeles, and frequently considered conspecific; they hybridize in overlap zone E of Rocky Mts#R. Monotypic.


S Canada from extreme S district of Mackenzie E to Great Slave L and NE British Columbia, and C & N Alberta, E to Ontario (S from N shore of L Superior), S Quebec (S of c. 49° N) and SE Newfoundland, S in USA to NE North Dakota, E South Dakota, NE Nebraska, E Kansas, NC Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and inland at higher altitudes to extreme N Georgia. Migrates to region from NE & W Mexico (from SW Tamaulipas and Nayarit) S through Central America to Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, rarely S to Peru and E to Guyana; also West Indies (mostly Bahamas, Cuba, Cayman Is) and sparingly Bermuda.

Descriptive notes

18–20 cm; male 36–63 g, female 34–56 g. Male has head down to upper chest, back and shoulder black, lower back and rump white, uppertail-coverts black with... read more


Song, usually from elevated perch, occasionally in flight, a very attractive series of loud... read more


Breeds in woodland of various types, including exclusively deciduous stands of maple (Acer... read more

Food and feeding

Mixed diet, composition varying during course of year. On summering grounds, about equally split between animal and vegetable material, but... read more


Season Apr–Aug/Sept, later in N of range; single-brooded, occasionally two broods. Males arrive on breeding grounds several days... read more


Entirely migratory; winters in Middle America and NE South America, a few in S USA (S Texas E to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common in much of breeding range; more sparsely distributed in NE (Newfoundland). Generally exhibits considerable tolerance of human modification of... read more

Recommended citation

Brewer, D. (2019). Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus). 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 25 August 2019).