A male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak can easily be distinguish by its trademark red triangular patch on its breast. Males also have black head, wings, and tail; irregular white patches on wings are typical. Approximately 7-8″ in size (2).
Females are more difficult to distinguish as they look similar to female purple finch, but larger in size (1). Females have dark (brown/black) wings with brown streaks. Look for white eye stripe and wing bars (stripes across wings) as distinguishing features on female (2). Note that immature Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks are similar in appearance to adult females (1).
These birds frequent suburban bird feeders, and prefer mixed woodlands with preference toward deciduous surroundings for natural foraging. Sunflower seeds will keep these birds at your feeder; their heavy bills are well suited for cracking them (and other seeds) open.
1. Alden, P., Cassie, B. (1998). National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, inc..
2. Reader’s Digest (1982). North American Wildlife. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader’s Digest Association