Golden grosbeak

The golden grosbeak (Pheucticus chrysogaster), also known as golden-bellied grosbeak or southern yellow grosbeak, is a species of grosbeak in the family Cardinalidae. It is similar to, and has sometimes been considered conspecific with, the yellow grosbeak.

Golden grosbeak
Pheucticus chrysogaster (male) -Ecuador-8.jpg
Male in Ecuador
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Pheucticus
P. chrysogaster
Binomial name
Pheucticus chrysogaster
Lesson, 1832

The golden grosbeak is found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and heavily degraded former forest.


The golden grosbeak belongs to the taxonomic family Cardinalidae. Other members of this family include cardinals, buntings, and other grosbeaks. Its genus, Pheuticus (meaning "shy" in Greek[2]), contains six extant species.

The golden grosbeak (P. chrysogaster) used to be considered a member of the same species as the black-thighed grosbeak (P. tibialis) and yellow grosbeak (P. chrysopeplus); collectively, they went under the name yellow grosbeak (P. chrysopeplus). Southern yellow grosbeak was the common name given to the subspecies of yellow grosbeak found in the South American Andes of Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Columbia, now recognized as the separate species golden grosbeak.[3] Recent phylogenetics supports the separation of these three species and suggests that the golden grosbeak is more closely related to the black-backed grosbeak (P. aureiventris) than to the black-thighed or yellow.[4]

Pheucticus chrysogaster goes by several different English names: southern yellow grosbeak, golden-bellied grosbeak, or golden grosbeak. The multiplicity of names traces in part to the above history of taxonomic splitting. Golden grosbeak is now favored over the other names by the major taxonomic authorities,[5] as reflected in frequently updated and popular websites like and


The body averages 21 cm (8.3 in) in length.[6] The bill is large and conical in shape, typical of most species in the family. The golden grosbeak is sexually dimorphic in plumage. Males are bright yellow with a black wing and back. They have white spots on their median and greater wing-coverts that wear over time, and older birds appear darker. The females have brown wings and brown streaks covering the head, flanks, back and rump. The immature of this species look similar to the female in plumage and is often not distinguishable in the field.[7]

Behavior and ecologyEdit

This species is found up to 3000 meters in elevation in a large diversity of habitats, occurring in semi-open habitats, edges of the forest, and shrub.[8] Primarily arboreal, the birds that are often found alone or in pairs. The song is described as fast caroling that is a “rich melody, liquid and full”.[9] Each individual has a large repertoire of songs. The call is a metallic ‘pink’.[10]

Conservation statusEdit

The IUCN considers the golden grosbeak a species of Least Concern. This classification reflects the species' large range and stable population size (<30% decline over ten years or three generations).[11]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Pheucticus chrysogaster". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22723803A132168425. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22723803A132168425.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Black-headed Grosbeak Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology".
  3. ^ "Golden Grosbeak". Handbook of Birds of the World. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  4. ^ Pulgarín-R, P.C.; Smith, B.T.; Bryson, R.W.; Spellman, G.M. (December 2013). "Multilocus phylogeny and biogeography of the New World Pheucticus grosbeaks (Aves: Cardinalidae)". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 69 (3): 12221227–. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.05.022. PMID 23769955.
  5. ^ "Pheucticus chrysogaster (Golden-bellied Grosbeak) - Avibase". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  6. ^ Ridgley, Robert; Greenfield, Paul (2001). The Birds of Ecuador. Cornell University Press.
  7. ^ Restal, Robin; Rodner, Clemencia; Lentino, Miguel (2006). Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press.
  8. ^ "Golden Grosbeak". Neotropical Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  9. ^ Restal, Robin; Rodner, Clemencia; Lentino, Miguel (2006). Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press.
  10. ^ Restal, Robin; Rodner, Clemencia; Lentino, Miguel (2006). Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press.
  11. ^ "Pheucticus chrysogaster". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016. 2016. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22723803A94834217.en.