Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-capped Blackbird (Chrysomus ruficapillus)


French: Carouge à calotte rousse German: Braunkopfstärling Spanish: Varillero congo

Agelaius ruficapillus


, 1819,



Races probably once separated, but now appear to meet and possibly intergrade in SE Brazil (São Paulo). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. frontalis (Vieillot, 1819) – coast of French Guiana, and E Brazil (Amapá, including Marajó I, E to Rio Grande do Norte, then S to Goiás, Minas Gerais and São Paulo).
  • C. r. ruficapillus (Vieillot, 1819) – E Bolivia (Santa Cruz) and S Brazil (Mato Grosso do Sul E to São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul) S to NE Argentina (NE La Pampa and Buenos Aires) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    Males average 18·5 cm, 41·3 g; female average 17·1 cm, 32·2 g. Male nominate race has most of crown, throat and uppermost breast deep dark... read more


    Males have two song types, sometimes produced in alternate sequences: one type starts with clicks,... read more


    Marshes (permanent or temporary), rice fields, wet grasslands and agricultural fields; invades... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, insects and spiders (Araneae). Feeds heavily on cultivated rice seeds (12–62% of stomach contents); in natural conditions... read more


    Season Nov–Mar in C & SE Brazil (both races) and Apr–May in NE (frontalis). Mating system sequential or harem... read more


    Little reliable or detailed information. Movements seem to occur mostly in response to droughts and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant. Expanding its range, notably in C Brazil. Much attracted to rice fields, and regarded as a major agricultural pest in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fraga, R. (2019). Chestnut-capped Blackbird (Chrysomus ruficapillus). 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 21 May 2019).