Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Black-faced Grosbeak (Caryothraustes poliogaster)


French: Cardinal à ventre blanc German: Graubauchkardinal Spanish: Picogrueso carinegro

Pitylus poligaster

du Bus de Gisignies

, 1847,



Has been treated as conspecific with C. canadensis; the two are sister-species#R. Race simulans of latter sometimes included in present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. poliogaster (du Bus de Gisignies, 1847) – Caribbean lowlands of Mexico (from C Veracruz, NE Oaxaca and N Chiapas E to S Quintana Roo), N Guatemala, Belize and N Honduras.
  • C. p. scapularis (Ridgway, 1888) – Caribbean lowlands from E Honduras and Nicaragua S to Panama (Bocas del Toro, Veraguas and Coclé; formerly, or casually, farther E).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; 34·9–46·7 g (nominate). Nominate race has forehead yellow, becoming yellow-green on crown and nape, duller dark greenish-yellow on mantle... read more


    Noisy. Song consists of 3–6 mellow but sharp whistles, “cher-che weet, cher-che weet”; also... read more


    Humid lowland evergreen forest and forest edge; sea-level to 1200 m in Mexico, to 900 m in Costa... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food items both vegetable and animal: fruits of Mexican rubber tree (Castilla), berries of Hamelia, Bactris,... read more


    Season mainly Apr–Jun; birds in breeding condition early Mar to late May in Belize. From limited observations appears to be co-operative... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Quite common to common in suitable habitat in much of range. Prefers undisturbed habitat.

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2020). Black-faced Grosbeak (Caryothraustes poliogaster). 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 28 January 2020).