Evening Grosbeak

Large and brightly colored, the Evening Grosbeak is a noticeable winter visitor to bird feeders during irruption years. When a flock settles down to feed, it can clean out a surprisingly large amount of sunflower seeds in a short time.

Keys to identification

Typical Voice

[audio:http://backyardnaturalist.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/grosbeak.mp3|titles=Evening Grosbeak]

  • Appearance

  • Adult Description:

    Large, robust finch.
    Tail relatively short.
    Heavy conical bill pale greenish yellow.
    Large white patch in wing obvious in flight. 

    Male Description:

    Brownish black head with black crown. Yellow forehead and eyestripe (supercillium). Wing, tail, and upper tail coverts black. Dark brown nape fading to yellow on back. Secondaries and coverts white, creating large square white patch on back of wing in flight. Dark brownish throat fades to brownish-yellow underparts, becoming brightest under tail. Legs pink.

    Female Description:

    Head and upperparts mostly grayish brown. Weak dark malar stripe. Yellowish wash on sides of neck. Uppertail coverts black with white spotting. Wings and tail black with white and gray patches in wing. Throat and underparts pale grayish brown. White under tail.

    Immature Description:

    Juveniles similar to female.


    The powerful bill of the Evening Grosbeak allows it to crack very large seeds, such as cherry pits.

  • Habitat

    Breeds in coniferous forests.
    Winters in coniferous or deciduous forests, and in urban and suburban areas.
    Comes readily to bird feeders.