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A photo of a Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina), male
Evening Grosbeak, Male

Evening Grosbeak

Hesperiphona vespertina

The Evening Grosbeak, Hesperiphona vespertina, is a robust passerine bird belonging to the finch family, Fringillidae. This striking species exhibits sexual dimorphism: males are adorned with a bright yellow forehead and body, contrasted by a brown head and distinctive white wing patches. Females, on the other hand, present a more subdued olive-brown plumage with greyer underparts and similar white wing markings.

Identification Tips

Adult Evening Grosbeaks possess a large pale bill, short black tail, and black wings. Observers should note the male's vibrant yellow and brown coloration and the female's more muted tones. Both sexes feature prominent white patches on their wings. Their size ranges from 16 to 22 cm in length, with a wingspan of 30 to 36 cm.

Habitat

These birds breed in coniferous and mixed forests, favoring the lush greenery of Canada, the mountainous regions of the western United States, and parts of Mexico.

Distribution

The Evening Grosbeak's range has historically expanded eastward, likely aided by human activities such as the planting of Manitoba maples and the provision of bird feeders in winter. Their migration patterns are quite variable, with some individuals venturing as far south as the southern United States during winter months.

Behaviour

Evening Grosbeaks are known to forage in trees and bushes, occasionally descending to the ground. They typically feed in flocks outside the breeding season and may ingest fine gravel alongside their primary diet. Their migration is unpredictable, with some winters seeing them travel extensively across the continent.

Song & Calls

The species is recognized by its loud and distinctive 'chew' call, which bears resemblance to an amplified house sparrow's vocalization.

Breeding

Breeding occurs in the dense foliage of coniferous and mixed forests. Nests are constructed on horizontal branches or within tree forks. The Evening Grosbeak is an exceedingly rare visitor to the British Isles, with only two recorded instances.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Evening Grosbeak primarily consists of seeds, berries, and insects. They exhibit foraging behavior both arboreally and terrestrially, and are known to consume fine gravel, possibly for digestive purposes.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the Evening Grosbeak as Vulnerable, indicating that the species faces a high risk of endangerment in the wild. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of this remarkable bird.

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