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Blue-black Grosbeak

Cyanoloxia cyanoides

The blue-black grosbeak, Cyanoloxia cyanoides, is a striking songbird belonging to the family Cardinalidae. Exhibiting sexual dimorphism, the males are adorned with dark blue plumage, accented by lighter blue on the eyebrows and shoulder patches, while the females are cloaked in a more subdued dark brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge.

Identification Tips

To identify the blue-black grosbeak, look for the male's vibrant blue feathers and distinctive lighter blue forehead. Females can be recognized by their darker brown plumage. The species is known for its robust body and the stout, conical bill typical of grosbeaks.


This bird favors environments rich in dense, tall trees and undergrowth, providing ample cover. It is often found at the edges of broadleaf forests, where it can remain well-concealed.


The blue-black grosbeak's range extends across Central and South America, with sightings in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.


These birds are elusive, often remaining hidden among the foliage. Their presence is usually betrayed by their distinctive vocalizations rather than by sight.

Song & Calls

The blue-black grosbeak's song is a melodious sequence of about six whistles that descend in pitch, culminating in a series of "seee seee sewee suwee sweet suuu." Their alarm call is a sharp "shek" or "chit," which they may repeat multiple times.


During the breeding season, which occurs in the spring and summer, the blue-black grosbeak constructs small cup nests. Clutch sizes typically consist of two eggs, with the timing of the breeding season varying slightly across different populations.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous bird, the blue-black grosbeak feeds on a diet of seeds, fruits, and insects, including ants and caterpillars. They are known to crush seeds before consumption.

Conservation status

The blue-black grosbeak is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline or habitat loss at a global scale.

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More Cardinals & Allies

A photo of a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) , male

Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis
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