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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

Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- Pheucticus ludovicianus

RANGE: Breeds from southern Mackenzie, across southern Canada to Nova Scotia south to north-central North Dakota and Kansas, central Oklahoma, southern Missouri, central Indiana and Ohio to central New Jersey and south along the Appalachians to northern Georgia. Winters from central Mexico to South America; rare in the Southwest.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Seems to require a combination of large trees, open areas, and thick shrubs or brush. In summer, inhabits second-growth deciduous or mixed woods, borders of swamps and streams, dense growths of small trees and shrubs along edges of woods and pastures, gardens, and parks of towns and villages.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Forest edges with dense brush or thick sapling stands.

NEST: Builds a flimsy nest, usually in a fork of a deciduous tree or shrub, about 10 to 15 feet above the ground. Occasionally builds nest in conifer trees.

FOOD: Consumes about equal amounts of vegetable and animal matter gleaned from leaves, twigs, or from the ground. Vegetable matter includes weed seeds, fruit, and tree seeds and buds; animal portion is nearly all insects.

REFERENCES: Forbush and May 1955, Harrison 1975, McAtee 1908, Terres 1980, Vickery in Farrand 1983c.

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