Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Black-hooded Sierra-finch (Phrygilus atriceps)


French: Phrygile à tête noire German: Kapuzenammertangare Spanish: Yal cabecinegro

Emberiza atriceps

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

“Tacora” (= Tarapacá), Chile (formerly in Peru)


Has been considered conspecific with P. gayi, but the two rarely hybridize in area of NC Chile (between Atacama and Coquimbo) where they are sympatric; molecular evidence indicates sister relationship with P. punensis#R#R. Geographical variation minimal; individuals from C Bolivia S to NW Argentina slightly longer-billed than others, but difference probably clinal, while males from NW Bolivian Altiplano (Sajama) said to be particularly black-winged. Treated as monotypic.


S Peru (highlands of Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna) S through highlands of SW Bolivia to N Chile (from highlands of E Arica–Parinacota S to Baños de Toro, in N Coquimbo) and NW Argentina (S to Catamarca).

Descriptive notes

15·5–16 cm; average 24·3 g. A well-proportioned sierra-finch with relatively pointed bill. Male has solid black hood, contrasting strongly with russet upper­parts and... read more


Song a musical but repetitive series of notes given in alternating pairs, “tweep-tseep, tweep-tseep... read more


Open highland scrub and shrubby areas, even where cacti dominant, also areas adjacent to grassy... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds and invertebrates. In highland villages will also take food scraps discarded by humans. Forages on ground. Generally in pairs, often... read more


Season mainly Nov–Jan, but nesting can occur at any time in year. Nest a grass cup, sometimes lined with camelid wool, placed in grass... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common throughout its range. Benefits from its ability to live alongside humans. Occurs in several protected areas, including Reserva Nacional de... read more

Recommended citation

Jaramillo, A. (2019). Black-hooded Sierra-finch (Phrygilus 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 14 December 2019).