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Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak
Photo Information
Copyright: Mario Belanger (EOSF1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-01-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400 F4-5.6 L IS USM, ISO 200, B+W 77 010 UV-Haze 1 x
Exposure: f/8, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Red Birds [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-29 12:17
Viewed: 3281
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]
From the archives, here is a male Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator 20-25cm) standing on a pine tree in the Montmorency boreal forest, north-east of Quebec City.

One of the larger members of its family, the Pine Grosbeak is a bird of the boreal forests, found across northern Eurasia and North America, and south into the mountains of western Canada and the United States. A large, unwary finch, it makes periodic winter irruptions into southern Canada and northern United States. It is the largest and rarest of the "winter finches."

Cool Facts

The tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak gave rise to local name in Newfoundland of "mope."

Winter flocks may stay near a tree with abundant fruit until all of it is consumed.

Winter irruptions are infrequent and irregular. To see an illustration of the invasion of the winter 1997-98, based on data gathered through BirdSource's Winter Finch Survey, click here.

A breeding adult Pine Grosbeak develops pouches in the floor of its mouth for carrying food to its young.

During most of the year, 99% of diet is vegetable matter, especially buds, seeds, and fruits of spruce, pine, juniper, elm, maple, mountain ash, apple, and crabapple. It feeds insects and spiders to its young, though, often mixed with plant foods. It drinks water or eats snow daily.

topSize: 20-25 cm (8-10 in)
Wingspan: 33 cm (13 in)

Large finch; medium-sized songbird.
Plump, heavy-chested.
Dark wings with two white wingbars.
Large stubby curved bill.
Male red.

Blackish-brown tail and wings.
Tail long and slightly forked.
Eyes black.
Bill dark.
Legs dark.

Sex Differences
Sexually dimorphic: Male with rosy-red head, chest and back, rest gray; females with yellow-olive where male has red.

Pinkish-red head, breast, back and rump. Streaked back. White undertail coverts. Blackish brown wings and tail. White wingbars and tertial edges.

Yellowish olive head and rump. Gray underparts and back. Blackish brown wings and tail. White wingbars and tertial edges.

Immature male usually is indistinguishable from immature or adult female until the second year when it molts and grows new reddish feathers. Some young males have some red or orange feathers in the body plumage, which females apparently lack. Females average duller than males (especially on the crown and rump) and have a lighter russet tinge to the head or lighter olive tinge to the breast than males. The color of the head and body is often golden orange or reddish bronze in males, in contrast to golden yellow of the female, and the chin is often buffier or more brown-gray than in the female.

Similar Species

White-winged Crossbill is smaller, has crossed-tipped bill, shorter tail; females streaked.
Evening Grosbeak is shorter-tailed, more stocky, and has large pale bill.
House Finch is smaller with less prominent wingbars; male with streaked sides.

Song is a sequence of clear, warbling, flute-like notes. Flight calls vary geographically, but can sound like "tee-tee-tew," resembling calls of Greater Yellowlegs.


Breeds in subarctic and subalpine coniferous forests of North America and Eurasia.

Winter Range
Winters mainly in breeding range, but may go farther south irregularly to southern Canada and northern United States.


Breeds in open coniferous forests.
Wintering areas determined by food availability, so found in wider variety of habitats, including urban areas.

Seeds, buds, fruit, some insects.

Eats fruits by biting through and discarding the pulp and crushing the seed. Insects caught by clumsy flycatching. Eats sunflower seeds at feeders in parts of range (rarely comes to feeders in other parts of range).

Other Behavior
Found in flocks in winter; strongly territorial in breeding season. Distinctive call note often given in flight.

Nest Type
Open cup nest in tree

Egg Description
Pale blue with darker dots and markings

Clutch Size
Usually 3-4 eggs. Range: 2-5.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.

topConservation Status
Status largely unknown because of difficulty of assessing populations.

Other Names
Durbec des sapins (French)
Camachuelo picogrueso (Spanish)

From: www.birds.cornell.edu

SelenE, mirceax, lise, eqshannon, Jamesp, tiklod, loot, Maite, fiyo, earthtraveler, uleko, NinaM, Alex99, pierrefonds, undoredo has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Mario,
Extraordinary perching....
Looks like a predator!
Well done

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-11-29 13:19]

Hi Mario,
I liked the pose you captured a lot, he looks like a candy on a stick :o) Good POV, details, composition and exposure control. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-11-29 13:46]

Hi .Just got home after a long day .so just to say this is a very good picture .full comments later.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-11-29 13:50]

Hello Mario,
Great pose and eye-contact. Very good details and colours in the bird. Nice composition and POV.

Bonsoir Mario
Très belle capture avec des couleurs extraordinaires.Un focus parfait et un BG de première classe.



  • Great 
  • lise Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 169 W: 48 N: 548] (2877)
  • [2007-11-29 14:44]

Salut Mario,
Quel oiseau fier avec sa pose noble du bout de sa branche! Les couleurs et la netteté sont magnifiques, excellente prise de vue.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-11-29 14:56]

Hi Mario

Lovely POV and great exposure and detail on the birds's body. Well observed.


  • Great 
  • tiklod Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 290 W: 74 N: 875] (3397)
  • [2007-11-29 16:12]

Salut Mario,
La pose tout au bout de cette branche d'épinette est excellente! Superbes détails encore une fois. Ces oiseaux offrent vraiement un superbe plumage et tu le rends bien. BRAVO!


The perch is amazing! What balance! Great capture...perfect color and light. Beautiful shot!

  • Great 
  • RP1 Gold Star Critiquer [C: 154 W: 1 N: 6] (251)
  • [2007-11-29 18:27]

Salut Mario,
Quel belle photo! Les couleurs sont magnifiques. La présentation est superbe, perché au bout de la tige.

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2007-11-29 19:34]
  • [2]

Hi Mario

A perfect capture of this fine specimen of a Pine Grosbeak.

Excellent details, well defined features, and stunning colours.
The DOF ensured an amazing BG and isolated the subject to stand out perfectly.
A good composition with the bird placed on the diagonal line and great proportions in the cropping.

Superb work and TFS.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-11-29 19:46]

Hello Mario

Lucky you! I am seeing females and juveniles,and they are not as bright and attractive as this lad is.
Beautiful plumage detail and colour.The clarity is exceptional.
I love the pine treetop setting, it makes a superb composition.
Excellent POV and DOF.
Great job.


hello mario,
nice shot of the Pine Grosbeak. the bird is looking stright in to the lens, lovely colours, well composed shot, good details of the plumage, sharp image,
well done,
tfs & regards

Bonjour Mario,
splendide image de ce sur bec perché à la cime du sapin,
bravo pour cette excellente photo,

He looks as thought it is growing out of the perch! Sitting on is throne after primping and such...must be out looking for lemon curd...(insiders joke;-)) A wonderful capture Mario and added to your collection..

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-11-30 6:28]

Incredible!! What a marvellous shot!!! I love the magestic pose on the summit of this haughty bird!! Magnificent sharpness with lovely beautiful colors and fantastic composition!
A real humdinger!!
Congratulations and TFS

Hello Mario , strange comp. good sharpness and colors , TFS and good luck .

bonjour mario
même si c'est une archive,ctte photo n'a pas pris une ride!!!
comme toujours superbe.
bon W-E

Salut Mario,je ne sais que dire sinon exxcellent,parfait,...
Juste une petite question,tu les payes combien ces oiseaux pour qu'ils posent pour toi? Non je rigole,superbe travail.
respect et amitiés,

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2007-11-30 14:06]

Hello Mario,
Excellent capture.I liked POV,natural colors,lighting a lot.TFS

Hi Mario,
Wonderful shot of this Grosbeak.
Fine POV and color, detail, and the BG bokeh is cool(no pun intended).
Fine composition ...from the Master to us.
PS: Thanks for the waterdrop tip. Works like a charm. :-)

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-12-03 7:39]

Hello Mario,
I love the way this Grosbeak is perched at the top of a pine! Amazing how they can keep the balance! Beautiful capture, very sharp and the colours are beautiful. Lovely background too.
Many thanks, Ulla

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2007-12-03 15:02]

Bonsoir Mario, beau mâle, et j'adore moi aussi cette pose au bout de l'arbre. On voit ses pattes noires comme son bec, son plumage flamboyant et son milieu naturel. on pourrait le matcher avec la petite femelle qui vient chez moi!



  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-12-04 8:26]

Hi Mario.
Once again one of the best of quality shot of the beautiful bird. I like the simplest subject. Piece of cute twig and charming bird (as well as the abstract impressive BG) and true masterpiece is created. Bravo. Outstanding picture. My best wishes.

Bonjour Mario,

Une belle image de ce Durbec des sapins, la photo a une bonne composition, netteté et de jolies couleurs. bonne journée.


Hello Mario,
What a beautiful capture of this Pine Grosbeak you present here!!
You've captured very fine pose of this fella with excellent composition & POV.
This is very wonderful portrait shot of Pine Grosbeak I think.
Thanks for sharing your lovely and fantastic gallery. :-)
Best wishes,

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