Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Saltator (Saltator atriceps)


French: Saltator à tête noire German: Schwarzscheitelsaltator Spanish: Pepitero cabecinegro

Tanagra (Saltator) atriceps


, 1832,

Veracruz, Mexico


Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. a. atriceps (Lesson, 1832) – Caribbean slope of Mexico from S Tamaulipas S (except SE Veracruz and N & C Yucatán Peninsula) to E Costa Rica.
  • S. a. suffuscus Wetmore, 1942 – Sierra de los Tuxtlas, in SE Veracruz (E Mexico).
  • S. a. raptor (S. Cabot, 1845) – SE Mexico (Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo).
  • S. a. flavicrissus Griscom, 1937 – Guerrero E to C Oaxaca, in SW Mexico.
  • S. a. peeti Brodkorb, 1940 – Pacific slope of E Oaxaca and Chiapas, in S Mexico.
  • S. a. lacertosus Bangs, 1900 – E Costa Rica (Talamanca) and Panama (E to Canal Zone; one record in Darién).
  • Descriptive notes

    24 cm; 63–116 g (El Salvador), 68·2–91·2 g (Yucatán). Nominate race has crown black, face blackish, white super­cilium and greyish submoustachial area; upper­parts,... read more


    Song a loud series of cackling, scratchy squawks, ending in prolonged upwardly inflected whistle;... read more


    Second growth, regenerating pastures, well-vegetated gardens, thickets. Sea-level to 1800 m in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Recorded food items include small fruits and seeds, flowers and tender buds; also insects. On one occasion seen to take a hummingbird (... read more


    Breeding recorded end of May in Mexico, and season Apr–Jul in Costa Rica. Nest a bulky, shallow cup of grass, strips of banana leaves and... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Quite common in suitable habitat over much of its range. Takes advantage of second growth and abandoned farmland.

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Black-headed Saltator (Saltator atriceps). 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 9 December 2019).