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Version 1.0

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Hooded Grosbeak Coccothraustes abeillei

Alayna Carter
Version: 1.0 — Published August 1, 2014


Distinguishing Characteristics

Hooded Grosbeak is a large, stocky finch with a very thick, pale bill and a relatively short tail. The species is sexually dichromatic. The male has an entirely black head (the "hood") and black wings with contrasting silvery gray tertials. The back is yellow olive, and the underparts are yellow. The plumage of the female is primarily grayish yellow or grayish olive, with a black crown; the wing pattern of the female is similar to that of the male.

Similar Species

Male Hooded Grosbeaks are distinctive and are unlikely to be confused with any other species. Black-headed Siskin (Spinus notatus) is much smaller with a smaller dark bill, lacks the pale tertials, and has a yellow wingbar. Female and juvenile Hooded Grosbeaks may be mistaken for Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus). In general, female Evening Grosbeaks are grayer, and lack the black cap Calls of both species also distinctive.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Ridgway (1901) and Clement (2010):

Adult male: Entire head and throat are black. The mantle, back, and scapulars are yellow olive to light olive green; lower back and rump brighter yellow. Upper tail coverts black or yellow with longer feathers edged and tipped in black. Tail is black, with a shallow fork. Wing coverts and remiges black, except for grayish or silvery gray inner greater primary coverts and tertials (the tertials edged with yellow in fresh plumage). Also, some of the outer primaries (fourth through seventh) sometimes with a white spot at base. Underparts bright yellow; tibial feathering black or blackish but edged with yellow

Adult female: Black cap extends from the forehead to crown (including sides of crown) and nape with a dusky black chin and black lores. Face grayish olive or pale olive green washed with yellow. Mantle, back and scapulars are olive to olive green with a wash of yellow (especially in fresh plumage). The rump paler yellow. Throat, breast and flanks pale greenish or yellow or yellowish-brown; belly, vent and undertail coverts light buffish brown or whitish. Wings and tail similar to male, but a white spot at the base of the inner primaries. Inner web of outer one to three rectrices tipped white.

Juvenile: Similar in appearance to the adult female. Juvenile males have dark inner webs to tertials and brighter yellow or yellowish-buff underparts than adult female. Face of juveniles brighter yellow and less tinged with olive-green.



Bare Parts

Iris: brown

Bill: Pale greenish yellow or greenish lemon, female’s bill slightly duller than male’s; large, stout, and heavy-looking

Tarsi and toes: pale brownish, flesh, or pale pinkish brown

Bare parts color data from Ridgway (1901), Clement (1993), Howell and Webb (1995), and specimens in the Field Museum of Natural History and Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.


Total length: 15-18 cm (Clement 1993), 17-18.5 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Linear measurements (from Ridgway 1901):

male (n = 5)

wing length: mean 103.6 mm (range 100.3-106.2 mm)

tail length: mean 62.0 mm (range 59.7-63.5 mm)

bill length (culmen): mean 20.8 mm (range 20.3-21.6 mm)

depth of bill at base: mean 15.5 mm (range 15.0-16.5 mm)

tarsus length: mean 20.3 mm (range 19.8-20.6 mm)

female (n = 5)

wing length: mean 102.8 mm (range 101.6-104.1 mm)

tail length: mean 61.0 mm (range 59.7-62.2 mm)

bill length (culmen): mean 20.6 mm (range 19.3-22.4 mm)

depth of bill at base: mean 16.0 mm (range 15.0-17.8 mm)

tarsus length: mean 20.3 mm (range 19.6-20.8 mm)

Mass: male, 49.7 g (n = 1; Paynter 1952); female, 48.1 g (n = 1; Paynter 1952)

Recommended Citation

Carter, A. (2014). Hooded Grosbeak (Coccothraustes abeillei), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.hoogro1.01