A Pine Grosbeak is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Pine Grosbeaks. We have also put together a list of fun Pine Grosbeak t-shirts, Pine Grosbeak bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Pine Grosbeaks
These big, plump finches are uncommon to many but can be found in large numbers in high mountain forests and forests of the north. They dwarf other finches when perched and are social and tame birds that are easily approachable. You can either find them on bird feeders during winter or on their breeding grounds. Some of their distinctive features include:
Description and Identification
Pine Grosbeaks are large finches that are between 8 – 10 inches in length with a wingspan
of 13 inches. They are plump, heavy-chested, and have a round head that is accentuated by
their stubby but thick and conical bills. They have long tails that are slightly notched at the
ends. These birds are sexually dimorphic in their plumages, with males donning reddish-pink
and gray plumes while females don grayish plumes with tints of reddish-orange or yellow on
the head and rump, which can vary among birds; the amount of red on the bellies of males
also varies. Juveniles look similar to females but tend to be grayer.
Pine Grosbeak Color Pattern
They are primarily red-gray with red underparts and upperparts. Their wings and bills are black and their foreheads are red-pink. Pine Grosbeak males are entirely red-pink and gray while females and juveniles are grayish.
Pine Grosbeak Size
These large and robust finches have heavy, thick, conical bills that crack hard seeds. Their tails are long and notched at the tip.
The relative sizes of both sexes
- Length range: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
- Weight: 2 oz (57 g)
- Wingspan range: 13.0 in (33 cm)
Pine Grosbeak Behavior
They primarily forage in trees and shrubs. They move around in trees feeding on buds, seeds, and fruits. Other times they forage on the ground picking seeds. In courtship, the males sing songs to defend their territories. In winter, they can be found in small flocks often searching for seeds.
Pine Grosbeak Food
The diet of Pine Grosbeak almost exclusively revolves around buds, seeds, and fruits of
various coniferous trees. Nearly 100% of their diet consists of fruits and seeds of spruce,
pine, juniper, birch, mountain ash, maple, box elder, crabapple, blackberry, ragweed, and
burdock. They forage on the ground and in the trees, usually grabbing fruits and seeds with
their beaks. However, females and young nestlings consume insects during the breeding
seasons in order to intake sufficient protein for growth. Winters can take them towards
roadsides in urban areas where they frequently feed on salt and grit; they are also regular
visitors at bird feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or suet.
Their diet mainly consists of buds, seeds berries, and insects. They are heavy feeders of plant material in winter and seeds of conifers, buds of trees such as maples, and wild fruits from trees such as pine, spruce, burdock, and ragweed. In summer, they feed on insects and spiders to supplement their diet.
Pine Grosbeak Habitat
These birds can be found inhabiting open evergreen forests with spruce, pine, and fir across
Canada, the Rocky Mountains, and the subalpine forests of Eurasia. They occur in open red
fir and lodgepole pine forests in the southern parts of their range but tend to remain in areas
that are at an elevation of at least 6,000 feet approximately. Within the Rocky Mountains,
they are found in valleys near timberline at elevations above 9,000 feet. Though these birds
are non-migratory, during the winter they move to lower elevations or to regions with an
abundance of mountain ash, maple, and ash fruits and seeds.
They breed in the open forests that consist of pine, fir, spruce across Canada, the West, and Eurasia. In winter they prefer deciduous fruiting trees and groves of conifers.
Range and Migration
Pine Grosbeaks are beautiful finches that are found across the boreal forests of northern
Eurasia and North America. Their American range includes northern Alaska, north-western
and south-eastern Canada, and a few stretches along the Pacific coast of Canada and the
The United States. These birds are permanent residents of their habitats but may be found at
lower elevations during non-breeding seasons. While vagrants southwards of their range are
extremely uncommon in Eurasia, some American vagrants can be spotted as far south as
Pine Grosbeak Lifecycle
The females lay 2-5 eggs and incubate them for 13-14 days. The throat pouches enable both parents to carry enough food to feed the hatchlings. The young leave the nest after 2-3 weeks.
Pine Grosbeak Nesting
Nest sites are presumably selected by the females in evergreen trees, usually at a location
near the trunk. The nest is typically well-concealed by dense vegetation around it and is at a
height of 6 – 16 feet above the ground. The construction of the nest is also undertaken by
the females. A loose foundation is made of evergreen twigs before an outer cup of roots and
smaller twigs are woven together. The inner cup is then made of finer items like rootlets,
twigs, and grass. The inner lining is later added to insulate the nest, usually done with
materials like lichens, evergreen needles, soft grasses, and feathers. The resulting nest is
between 6 – 9 inches across and 3 – 4 inches deep.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Pine Grosbeaks
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Pine Grosbeaks are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Pine Grosbeak T-shirts
If you love the Pine Grosbeak you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Pine Grosbeak Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Pine Grosbeak is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Pine Grosbeak Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Pine Grosbeak. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Pine Grosbeaks
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Pine Grosbeaks
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.