Birds Of Southern California

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a spring migrant here in Orange County. Early arrivals can be from the month of March forward though they are more commonly found in the month of April through September. Their songs are most pleasant. My personal experiences have found this bird anywhere from 6 feet off the ground to 20-30 feet up of course there are exceptions to all rules. Here's additional info as found on Wikipedia: The black-headed grosbeak's approximate length is 18–19 cm (7.1–7.5 in); it is similar in size to a common starling. As per its name, the male has a black head, and black wings and tail with prominent white patches. Its breast is dark to tawny orange in color, and its belly is yellow. The female has a brown head, neck and back with sparrow-like black streaks. She also has white streaks down the middle of her head, over her eyes and on her cheeks. Her breast is white and wings and tail are grayish-brown with two white wing bars and yellowish wing edges. The black-headed grosbeak prefers to live in deciduous and mixed wooded areas. It likes to be in areas where there are large trees as well as thick bushes, such as patches of broadleaved trees and shrubs within conifer forests, including streamside corridors, river bottoms, lakeshores, wetlands, and suburban areas. It also seems to avoid coniferous vegetation. Its voice The grosbeak's song is a rich warble that is similar to that of an American robin but more fluent, faster, softer, sweeter and mellow with rising and falling passages that make the song much longer than the robin's. The note is a sharp ik or eek. Both the male and female sing, but have different songs. More on Wikipedia here: