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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Blue Grosbeak -- Guiraca caerulea

RANGE: Breeds from southern California, southern Nevada, southern Colorado, and Nebraska (also north to south-central North Dakota) and southern Ohio and New Jersey south to the Gulf Coast, and central Florida, through Mexico into Costa Rica. Winters from Mexico south to Panama, and in the Bahamas and Cuba.

STATUS: Fairly common, but rare and local in the northeastern part of its range.

HABITAT: Inhabits weedy pastures, old fields with saplings, forest edges, streamside thickets, hedgerows, swampy thickets, and willows along irrigation ditches. In the West, inhabits mesquite woods.

NEST: Builds a compact, rather deep nest 3 to 8 feet above the ground in a low tree, shrub, tangle of vines, or briars, and typically at the edge of an open area.

FOOD: Gleans much of its food from the ground, but also searches for food among leaves and branches of trees and shrubs. Consumes insects, snails, spiders, grain, weed seeds, and fruits.

REFERENCES: Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Stabler 1959, Terres 1980.

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