grosbeak [great beak], common name for various members of the family Fringillidae (finch family). Grosbeaks are characterized by their large conical bills. The male rose-breasted grosbeak (Zamelodia ludoviciana) is striking with its white bill and summer plumage of black and white accented by a rose-red breast. Sometimes called potato-bug bird, it destroys these and other insects. The pine grosbeak of the Old and New Worlds, the largest of the finches, feeds on conifer seeds and wild fruits; the western, or black-headed, grosbeak is an enemy of scale insects, codling moths, and flower beetles. The eastern, or evening, grosbeak is metallic yellow with black and white wings and tail. The common European grosbeak is the hawfinch. Grosbeaks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Fringillidae.

Grosbeak is the name given to a form taxon containing several species of seed-eating passerine birds with large beaks. Although they all belong to the superfamily Passeroidea, they are not a natural group but rather a polyphyletic assemblage of distantly related songbirds.

The following is a list of grosbeak species, arranged in groups of closely related genera. Note that these genera are more closely related to smaller-billed birds than to other grosbeaks. The single exception are the three genera of "typical grosbeak finches", which indeed form a group of closest living relatives and might thus be considered the "true" grosbeaks.

Grosbeak finches

The finch family (Fringillidae) contains 13 living species named "grosbeak":

Typical grosbeak finches

Grosbeak bullfinch

Grosbeak goldfinches

Affiliations unknown

Two species in the genus Serinus are named "Grosbeak-canaries": the Abyssinian Grosbeak-canary (Serinus donaldsoni) and the Southern Grosbeak-canary or Kenya Grosbeak-canary (Serinus buchanani). The genus Serinus is somewhat closely related to the golden-winged grosbeaks.

In addition, there are two extinct Fringillidae "grosbeaks": the Bonin Grosbeak (Chaunoproctus ferreorostris), found only on the Ogasawara Islands, which was last recorded in 1832, and the Kona Grosbeak or Grosbeak Finch (Chloridops kona), a Hawaiian honeycreeper, last recorded in 1896.


The cardinal family (Cardinalidae) of the Americas contains the following 17 "grosbeaks":

Masked cardinal-grosbeaks

Blue cardinal-grosbeaks

Typical cardinal-grosbeaks

Grosbeak tanagers?

Three additional species of "grosbeaks" have long been placed in the Cardinalidae, but actually seem to be closer to the tanager family (Thraupidae):

Grosbeak Weaver

Finally, the weaver family (Ploceidae) contains a species called the Grosbeak Weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons).

External links

  • The Burgess Bird Book for Children
  • RoseBreasted Grosbeak
  • All About Birds
  • Birds -Everything About Grosbeaks

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