Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Black-headed Grosbeak - Pheucticus melanocephalus
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General Comments The Black-headed Grosbeak, the Western counterpart of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, is a casual to very rare visitor to North Carolina and other Eastern states. As of 2019, there are about 14 records, mostly of females/immatures. Eight of the records are from Jan through Apr, with five of these birds lingering from one to four months. The latest date in spring is 11 May and the earliest date in fall is 30 Sep. Despite the large and increasing numbers of feeders in the state in winter, the species went unreported in the state between 2007 and 2016.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Casual visitor. There are seven records: one in Wilmington, 8-16 Apr 1969 [Chat 33:4 link]; one at Bodie Island on 30 Sep 1974 [Chat 39:1 link]; one in Pinehurst (Moore), 26 Dec 1974 - 18 Apr 1975 [Chat 41:3 link]; an adult male in Duck (Dare) on 25 Oct 1975 [Chat 40:2 link]; one in Morehead City, 19 Mar - 21 Apr 1984 [Chat 48:102 link]; a first winter male at a feeder in Elizabeth City, 6 Feb - 22 Apr 2003 [Chat 68:3 link]; and a female photographed in Wilmington, 17 Oct 2019 [Chat 84:28 link].
Piedmont Casual visitor. There are six records: one in Greensboro, 6 Jan - 12 Apr 1964 [Chat 28:2 link]; a male in Reidsville (Rockingham), 19 Jan - 10 May 1975 [Chat 39:3 link]; one in Winston-Salem on 1 Nov 1983 [Chat 48:62 link]; one in High Point on 6 May 1984 [Chat 48:102 link]; an adult male photographed in a yard in Weddington (Union), 22 Nov 2016; and an immature male at a feeder in Charlotte from 11-17 Mar 2018.
Mountains Casual/accidental, with just one record: a breeding-plumaged male was photographed at a feeder on 11 May 2007 at Boone* (Watauga) [Chat 79:184 link] [Chat 80:15 link].
Finding Tips
1/2 *
Attribution LeGrand[2020-02-08], LeGrand[2018-11-09], LeGrand[2018-02-01]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.