Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Near Threatened

Black-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila melanogaster)


French: Sporophile à ventre noir German: Schwarzbauchspelzer Spanish: Semillero ventrinegro

Spermophila melanogaster


, 1870,

Itararé and Resaca, São Paulo, Brazil


Belongs in S clade of “capped” (“capuchino”) Sporophila (see S. castaneiventris and S. bouvreuil, above; also S. hypoxantha). Monotypic.


SE Brazil (E Santa Catarina and NE Rio Grande do Sul); migrates N as far as C Goiás and W Minas Gerais.

Descriptive notes

10 cm; 8–10·5 g. Typical seedeater in shape and small size, with stubby, rounded bill. Male breeding has head down to malar region blue-grey, sometimes with tiny white spot... read more


Song begins with one or two buzzy trills followed by a long, high descending note, which sounds as... read more


Old tall grassland adjacent to wetlands or moist swales, at 700–1000 m; lower in non-breeding... read more

Food and feeding

Grass seeds. Clings to grass stem while extracting the seeds. Forages in pairs and in small groups.


Season Nov–Mar. Nests, built by female only, are small cups made of grass fibers, mostly of Eragrostis arioides, connected... read more


Migratory; arrival on breeding grounds in Oct–Nov, departure Feb–Mar. Details of migration remain... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Locally common; has tiny breeding range. Thought to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline,... read more

Recommended citation

Jaramillo, A. & de Juana, E. (2019). Black-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila melanogaster). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 May 2019).