Look For It Now: Rose-breasted Grosbeak Couples

In the natural world, there are some odd-looking couples. Male and female rose-breasted grosbeaks are just such a pair. The two look nothing alike! The male has the tell-tale bright, rosy-red breast, white belly and white patches on black wings. The female, however, looks a lot like an over-sized sparrow.

In the photo, you can see the differences in this odd duo. Many male and female birds differ in that the female is a drab version of the male. Beside their male counterpart, female American goldfinches exemplify “drab” very well. But rose-breasted grosbeaks simply look different. You can see the female grosbeak has some striping on her chest, lots of brown feathers and a white eye stripe. There’s no striping on the male, and certainly no eye stripe on that black-feathered face. The two couldn’t look more mismatched. And yet, they seem to do quite well together in nature. I’ve got several breeding pairs (now with juveniles in tow) in the woods around my home — look for these odd couples now. Photo by Meghan Oliver.


  1. Audrey on July 3, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Awesome picture, Meghan! We have two fledgling RBGR right now; they're my favorites.

  2. Meghan on July 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    RBGR babies?! You are so lucky. Of course, we have a fledgling crow in now… so things are pretty awesome here.

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