Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Family: 
Cardinalidae (cardinals, grosbeaks, buntings) in the order Passeriformes
Description: 

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are chubby birds with heavy bills that are a pale pinkish ivory. Adult male upperparts are black, with white wing patches and rump. Underparts are white, with a rose red breast and wing lining, and a black throat. In winter, a male grosbeak's feathers are mottled brown and white, with only a hint of rose. The female is brown above, with a broad white eyebrow and wing bars, and is heavily streaked below, with a yellow wing lining that is visible in flight. The song is a beautiful, rich, slurred series of whistles, much like a robin's carol, although much faster.

Size: 
Length: 8 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are usually seen foraging in woodland edges, hedgerows and yards with trees and shrubs. Summer territory includes open woodlands of the eastern U.S. and central Canada. Winter habitat is forest borders and scattered trees from Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela.
Foods: 
The heavy bills ("grosbeaks") of this species are used for gathering and eating insects, flower and leaf buds, seeds, fruits and berries. If you are interested in attracting rose-breasted grosbeaks to your yard, consider planting native fruit-bearing plants such as eastern red cedar, black cherry, blackberry, serviceberry or flowering dogwood.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide.
Status: 
The rose-breasted grosbeak is a common migrant statewide; common summer resident in northern Missouri, and rare in the Ozark Region.
Human connections: 
The availability of "soft mast" (fleshy fruits) may be critical for the survival of southbound fruit-eating migrant birds. Although humans have altered many habitats to the detriment of wildlife, we can also help by allowing fruit-bearing trees and shrubs to remain and by planting them when we can.
Ecosystem connections: 
Frugivorous birds (ones that eat fruit and seeds) play an important role in dispersing many types of plants when they eat the fruits, then later deposit the undigested seeds far from the parent plant.