Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Caribbean Grey Saltator (Saltator olivascens)


French: Saltator de Cabanis German: Karibiksaltator Spanish: Pepitero grisáceo del Caribe

S[altator]. olivascens


, 1849,



Until recently considered conspecific with S. coerulescens and S. grandis, but genetic#R and vocal evidence strongly indicates species rank in this case. Differs from both in its stuttering song with rather harsh-sounding downslurred notes, often with alternating high-pitched and low-pitched notes, thus lacking both long notes and a whistled song type (4) and delivering at a slower pace (2)#R; moreover, shows more white on mid-belly than the other two species (1). Recorded online material reveals that the switch in song type from present species to S. coerulescens occurs abruptly near Villavicensio, Colombia, and somewhere in NE French Guiana#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. o. plumbeus Bonaparte, 1853 – Caribbean coast of Colombia from R Sinú E to lower Magdalena Valley.
  • S. o. brewsteri Bangs & T. E. Penard, 1918 – NE Colombia (Norte de Santander and Arauca), Venezuela (except extreme SE) and Trinidad.
  • S. o. olivascens Cabanis, 1849 – #RSE Venezuela (Mt Roraima, in SE Bolívar), the Guianas and adjacent extreme N Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–21 cm; 47–67 g. Nominate race with greyish upperparts, grey head, short white supercilium, white crescent below eye, off-white throat bordered by black malar... read more


    Song variable. In N Venezuela, a loud musical “wee chop cheeééeer”,... read more


    Occupies forest edge, farmland, second growth, dry scrub, deciduous woodland, coffee and cocoa... read more

    Food and feeding

    Varies across range. In one lowland study in Venezuela, diet predominantly vegetable, including fruits and flower buds and leaves (captive... read more


    Season Apr–Aug in Colombia, May–Aug in NC Venezuela (but fledgling observed in Mar in Andes), Mar–Oct (mainly May... read more


    Largely sedentary. Race brewsteri has occurred as a vagrant on Tobago.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in much of its range, even in habitats heavily modified by humans. No estimates of global population size or population trends... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Caribbean Grey Saltator (Saltator olivascens). 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).