Unrelated cousins


We have grosbeaks: similarly looking, heavy-billed, seed- and insect-eating birds that have been lumped together as a group for over three centuries. They are, what is referred to as a form taxon, a group based, not upon their biology, but merely their appearances and behaviours.

In the past week, I have watched two grosbeaks: the Black-headed Grosbeak, which is a cardinal grosbeak, and the Evening Grosbeak, which is a grosbeak finch. These two are only distantly related. When seen in the pictures, they are clearly different, but when spotted in the field, I thought they were the same.

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a seasonal bird that is here in small numbers in the warm months. Its heavy bill is obvious.

Also relatively uncommon, the Evening Grosbeak might be seen at any time of the year.

Here the Evening Grosbeak poses for a contemplative portrait.


This entry was posted in birds. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Unrelated cousins

  1. Helen says:

    Love the contemplative pose!

  2. Trevor Goward says:

    Thanks Alistair

    Contemplative or not, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the Evening G from this angle before. Gives a whole different impression than what I’m used to. Really a handsome bird.

  3. Christine Boyd says:

    So beautiful!

Comments are closed.