Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Yellow Grosbeak (Pheucticus chrysopeplus)


French: Cardinal jaune German: Gelbkopf-Kernknacker Spanish: Picogrueso amarillo
Other common names: Orange-colored Grosbeak (aurantiacus)

Coccothraustes chrysopeplus


, 1832,

San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico


Has been treated as conspecific with P. tibialis and P. chrysogaster, and a genetic study suggested present species was potentially paraphyletic with respect to former; arrangement of subspecies groups here follows same work#R. Has hybridized with P. melanocephalus in captivity. Proposed race rarissimus (described from Chietla, in Puebla) subsumed into nominate. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. dilutus van Rossem, 1934 – NW Mexico (C Sonora, SW Chihuahua, N Sinaloa); wintering areas not known.
  • P. c. chrysopeplus (Vigors, 1832) – Northern Yellow Grosbeak – W Mexico (C Sinaloa and W Durango S on Pacific slope to N Guerrero, Puebla and N Oaxaca#R).
  • P. c. aurantiacus Salvin & Godman, 1891 – Guatemalan Yellow Grosbeak – S Mexico (highlands of S Chiapas) and adjacent Guatemala.
  • Descriptive notes

    21·5–24 cm; one female 77·6 g. Male nominate race has crown and nape to centre of mantle deep yellow, side of mantle black (fresh feathers having narrow... read more


    Song a series of rich, clear whistles, “chee wee chee-r weer weeuh” and so on, similar... read more


    Tropical deciduous and semi-deciduous forest, well-wooded watercourses, scrubby woodland and thorn-... read more

    Food and feeding

    In Mexico, seen to take fruit of Ficus pertusa, Trichostigma octandrum (Phytolaccaceae) and, more rarely, Recchia... read more


    Nesting begins in early Jun, and family parties still together mid-Sept, in N Mexico (Sonora). Nest a cup made from roots, leaves, grass... read more


    S populations sedentary. In N part of range (Sonora), race dilutus a summer visitor,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common; S race aurantiacus described variously as rare and very local, and fairly common to common. May be captured for... read more

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Yellow Grosbeak (Pheucticus chrysopeplus). 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 24 August 2019).