Annotated checklist and data resource
text © Don Roberson
photos copyrighted by photographer(s) credited
all photos taken in Monterey County, California
MTY = Monterey County
Part 11: Grosbeaks through Finches
MTY status & distribution
if photo, usually a thumbnail;
if specimen or details,
so indicated
Credits or comments
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Pheucticus ludovicianus
Rare spring & fall vagrant, mostly along the coast, a few birds have summered or wintered locally. Winter birds often at suburban feeders
photo © Rob Fowler
30 June 2004 Big Sur R. mouth
Black-headed Grosbeak
Pheucticus melanocephalus
Breeds widely: common summer resident of woodlands; rare in winter
photo © Robert F. Tintle
Sep 1985 Salinas
Blue Grosbeak
Passerina caerulea
Breeds locally: scarce & local summer resident in upper Salinas Valley; rare spring & fall vagrant to the coast
photo © Don Roberson
8 May 2004 near San Lucas
Lazuli Bunting
Passerina amoena
Breeds widely: common summer resident in riparian and brushy streamside habitats; uncommon spring & fall migrant throughout, very rare in winter
photo © John Sorensen
May 2001 Old Stage Rd.,
east of Salinas
Indigo Bunting
Passerina cyanea
Rare but regular spring & fall vagrant, mostly along the coast; very rare in winter. Has nested at last twice at Big Sur R. mouth and perhaps elsewhere; one nesting attempt was with a female Lazuli Bunting

Click on this link for photos of a hybrid bunting in MTY

photo © Robert F. Tintle
4 June 1988 Big Sur R. mouth
Painted Bunting
Passerina ciris
Very rare fall vagrant; 7 records through 2003, all along the coast
photo © BSOL/Ivan Samuels
6 Sep 2000 Big Sur R. mouth
[banded by BSOL]
Spiza americana
Very rare fall vagrant; exceptional in winter or summer. Several have been at coastal bird feeders
photo © Don Roberson
17 July 1997 near Pt. Sur
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Rare but regular fall vagrant; very rare in spring or summer
photo © Ronald L. Branson
1 Oct 1978 Crespi Pond
Red-winged Blackbird
Agelaius phoeniceus
Breeds widely: common resident of freshwater marshes throughout; flocks widespread in winter. "Bicolored" types (with little or no yellow edge to red epaulets) predominate in north MTY; more typical types in south MTY
photo © Don Roberson
20 Apr 1986 Frog Pond Nature Area, Del Rey Oaks
Tricolored Blackbird
Agelaius tricolor
Breeds widely but patchily: locally common resident of freshwater marshes. Breeds in dense colonies, sometimes away from water. Flocks in winter may wander far from nesting colonies
photo © Don Roberson
23 Apr 1996 eastern Ft. Ord
Western Meadowlark
Sturnella neglecta
Breeds widely: common resident of interior grasslands. Widespread in grassy habitats throughout in migration and winter
photo © Don Roberson
18 Jan 2004 Cholame Valley
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Rare but regular spring & fall visitor around Elkhorn Slough; rare and less predicable elsewhere or in winter or summer
photo © Don Roberson
27 Apr 2004 Moonglow Dairy, Moss Landing
Rusty Blackbird
Euphagus carolinus
Very rare fall & winter vagrant; 8 records through 2003, all along the coast
photo © Brian J. Weed
Jan 1987 Pacific Grove
Brewer's Blackbird
Euphagus cyanocephalus
Breeds widely: common & conspicuous resident in lowlands throughout. Joins flocks of other blackbirds in winter
photo © Don Roberson
Apr 1985 Pacific Grove
Common Grackle
Quiscalus quiscula
Very rare vagrant; two in spring & two in fall through 2003, all along the coast
photo © Lis Covello
16 Nov 2000 near Pt. Sur
Great-tailed Grackle
Quiscalus mexicanus
Breeds locally: rapidly expanding immigrant now resident at certain local freshwater marshes. Range may expand or contract in future; it is too early to say. Rare vagrant away from breeding locales, most often in spring
photo © Don Roberson
15 June 1999 Roberts Lake, Seaside
Brown-headed Cowbird
Molothrus ater
Breeds widely: common resident of woodlands, parasitizing songbirds in summer. Uncommon but very widespread in migration and winter, often with flocks of blackbirds
photo © Robert F. Tintle
3 Nov 1991 Pebble Beach
Orchard Oriole
Icterus spurius
Rare fall and winter vagrant along the coast; very rare in spring
photo © Robert F. Tintle
30 Dec 1987 Pacific Grove
Hooded Oriole
Icterus cucullatus
Breeds locally: uncommon summer resident in neighborhoods with Washington Fan Palms or other palms. Otherwise a rare spring & fall migrant and very rare winter visitor throughout
photo © Robert F. Tintle
10 June 1990 Laguna Grande, Seaside
Streak-backed Oriole
Icterus pustulatus
Exceptional vagrant: one record (Nov 2003)
no photo in MTY
detailed description 
24 Nov 2003 Big Sur R. mouth by Jim Tietz
Baltimore Oriole
Icterus galbula
Rare fall & winter vagrant along the coast; very rare in spring
no photo in MTY
but several specimens
incl. this one at PGMNH
3 Dec 1965 Pacific Grove
Bullock's Oriole
Icterus bullockii
Breeds widely: common summer resident of interior oak woodlands. Otherwise a scarce spring & fall migrant throughout; rare in winter, mostly along the coast
photo © Ian Tait
June 1980 Hastings NHR
Scott's Oriole
Icterus parisorum
Very rare fall and winter vagrant; 3 records
no photo in MTY
specimen at MVZ
and several sight records
Purple Finch
Carpodacus purpureus
Breeds widely: common resident of riparian woodlands and common summer resident of montane pine forests. More widespread in migration and winter
photo © Robert F. Tintle
13 June 1986 Big Sur R. mouth
Cassin's Finch
Carpodacus cassinii
Rare and irregular winter visitor; most during erratic and irruptive influxes of this interior species towards the coast. Last irruption was winter 1996-1997
photo © Don Roberson
19 Oct 1996 Jacks Peak
House Finch
Carpodacus mexicanus
Breeds widely: common resident in lowlands throughout
photo © Don Roberson
24 Apr 1999 Pine Canyon, near King City
Red Crossbill
Loxia curvirostra
Erratic visitor to coniferous forests, mostly in fall and winter. Last major irruption in winter 1996-97. Some have remained into summer and nested locally after major incursions (last nested 1997)
photo © Robert F. Tintle
5 Dec 1993 Jacks Peak
Pine Siskin
Carduelis pinus
Breeds widely but patchily: fairly common resident along the coast in mixed coniferous and riparian habitats, or in eucalyptus. More widespread in migration and winter
photo © Robert F. Tintle
Aug 1988 Pacific Grove
Lesser Goldfinch
Carduelis psaltria
Breeds widely: common resident in brushy and wooded habitats throughout. May concentrate in flocks in migration and winter with much local movement from place to place
photo © Don Roberson
24 Apr 1999 Pine Canyon, near King City
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Carduelis lawrencei
Breeds widely: locally common summer resident in arid woodlands of the interior. Numbers much reduced in winter but some remain in most winters. Nests locally along the coast in some years; absent in others
photo © Don Roberson
24 Apr 1999 Pine Canyon, near King City
American Goldfinch
Carduelis tristis
Breeds widely within narrow habitat range: fairly common resident of coastal scrub, usually limited to within a mile of the coast. Otherwise, migrants from distant populations are widespread and common in winter (Oct-Mar)
photo © Don Roberson
11 Jan 2004 Pacific Grove
Evening Grosbeak
Coccothraustes vespertinus
Rare and irregular fall and winter visitor. Some incursions bring fair numbers (last eruption 1996-97) but can be entirely absent some winters
no photo in MTY?
specimens at CAS, MVZ
House Sparrow
Passer domesticus
Non-native introduced species. Breeds widely: common resident in cities and towns
photo © Robert F. Tintle
14 Dec 1996 Pacific Grove

EXOTICS: In addition to the birds on the main Monterey County checklist, which includes both native species and non-native introduced birds that have established populations in the county, a wide variety of escaped exotic birds have been seen free-flying locally. None of these are considered acceptable for the county checklist, but it is interesting to identify them and note their occurrence. Here are a few examples:

Exotic gamebirds
Chukar Alectoris chukar (right) and Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus are non-native fowl considered established in some parts of California. Neither has an established population in MTY although both are occasionally seen "in the wild" from time to time. These and other game birds are ranch raised in several places in Monterey County, and are released into the wild for hunting. The nearest "countable" Chukars are in Shotgun Pass on the San Benito/Fresno Co. border; the nearest "countable" Ring-necked Pheasants are in the Central Valley
ranch-raised Chukar
from Parkfield
Exotic waterfowl
Barnyard geese and ducks are often seen at local parks and ponds. Sometimes the exotics are ranch-raised variations (like this white-headed Mallard, right), but a wide variety of escaped water birds have been recorded, including Mute Swan Cygnus olor, Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata, and two species of flamingo!
white-headed Mallard
with wild ducks 11 Nov 1994 at Carmel R. mouth
[photo by Don Roberson]
Eurasian Collared Dove
Streptopelia decaocto
This non-native dove spread to the U.S. from introduced birds in the Bahamas, and has rapidly expanded across the continent. Recent immigrants to the Salton Sea were cited by the CBRC in adding this species to the California list. There are no established populations in MTY, but known escapes have been near King City since 1999 and are now nesting; and a few have recently colonized Pacific Grove (from where? local escapes?). Eurasian Collared Doves must be carefully distinguished from escaped "Ringed Turtle Doves" that are also occasionally encountered.
photo by Don Roberson
Apr 1999 Pine Canyon
near King City
Red-crowned Parrot
Amazona viridigenalis
This parrot is native to northeastern Mexico but was widely smuggled into the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s, and is widely sold by aviculturalists. Escapes were first seen in Pacific Grove in 1983 and were nesting by 1988. The small population reach 13 parrots by 1992 but has since declined. It does not meet the standards for an established non-native population.
photo by Brian J. Wood
Nov 1989 Pacific Grove
Exotic parrots
A variety of other parrots and parakeets have been seen "free-flying" locally, all of which are escapes from captivity. These have included Blue-fronted Amazon Amazon aestiva (right), Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri, Red-masked Conure Aratinga eythrogenys, and Yellow-collared Macaw Ara auricollis
photo by Brian J. Wood
Blue-fronted Amazon (L)
with Red-crowned Parrot (R)
Nov 1989 Pacific Grove
Exotic weavers & finches
A variety of escaped finches and weavers have been seen locally, often at vagrant traps like Pt. Pinos or at backyard feeders. A pair of African Firefinch Lagonostricta rubricata nested in 1965; other escapes include Northern Red Bishop Euplectes franciscanus (right), Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus, and European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
photo by Robert F. Tintle
13 Sep 1988 Pt. Pinos

Use these links to reach other portions of the Monterey County list:

Part 1: Waterfowl through Grebes
Part 2: Albatrosses through Frigatebirds
Part 3: Herons through Cranes
Part 4: Plovers through Sandpipers
Part 5: Jaegers through Alcids
Part 6: Doves through Woodpeckers
Part 7: Flycatchers through Larks
Part 8: Swallows through Pipits
Part 9: Waxwings through Warblers
Part 10: Tanagers through Sparrows
Part 11: Grosbeaks through Finches
or just the plain Checklist (no annotations)
Readers may use this material for their own private enjoyment, study, or research but none of the photos or text herein may be used commercially nor may they be reposted on other web sites without written permission. All material is copyrighted. The posting of photos and text on this private web site is not a submission to review organizations. 
for more information on the status & distribution of birds in Monterey County,
see Monterey Birds 2d ed.
by Don Roberson

click on cover (right) for ordering information and more details about the book





Page created 25 Feb-7 Mar 2004, updated 1 Aug 2004