Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Common Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus flavopectus)


French: Chlorospin des buissons German: Finkengrünammer Spanish: Clorospingo común

Arremon flavo-pectus


, 1840,

Bogotá, Colombia


Paraphyletic with respect to C. tacarcunae, C. inornatus and C. semifuscus#R. Constituent taxa, which may or may not break down into a number of species, exhibit a high degree of mosaic variation involving pale or dark irides, presence or absence of a white postocular patch, colour of crown, throat and breast, morphometrics, voice#R and genetics; despite important insights in a succession of studies#R#R#R#R#R no unequivocal new rearrangement has yet emerged for adoption#R#R, and a comprehensive integrative analysis of the complex is still badly needed (including the evaluation of poorly defined taxa). Race punctulatus has sometimes been treated as a full species, as have cinereocephalus and the “flavopectus group” (also including trudis, nigriceps, exitelus, macarenae and phaeocephalus). Proposed race novicius represents intergrades between regionalis and punctulatus#R. Proposed race persimilis (described from R Guajolote, SW of San Miguel Suchixtepec, in Oaxaca, Mexico) regarded as synonymous with albifrons#R, although genetic data offer support for its recognition#R. Species name long given as ophthalmicus, but flavopectus has priority#R. Twenty-six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. ophthalmicus (du Bus de Gisignies, 1847) – Brown-headed Bush-tanager – Atlantic slope of E Mexico (SE San Luis Potosí and W Veracruz S to NE Oaxaca).
  • C. f. wetmorei Lowery & Newman, 1949 – Tuxtla Bush-tanager – Sierra de los Tuxtlas (SE Veracruz), in S Mexico.
  • C. f. albifrons Salvin & Godman, 1889 – White-fronted Bush-tanager – Sierra Madre del Sur (Guerrero and Oaxaca), in S Mexico.
  • C. f. dwighti Underdown, 1931 – Dwight's Bush-tanager – Caribbean slope in S Mexico (Chiapas), SW Belize (Maya Mts)#R and Guatemala.
  • C. f. postocularis Cabanis, 1866 – Dusky-headed Bush-tanager – Pacific slope in S Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala.
  • C. f. honduratius Berlepsch, 1912 – El Salvador and Honduras.
  • C. f. regionalis Bangs, 1906 – Nicaragua and E Costa Rica.
  • C. f. punctulatus P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1869 – Dotted Bush-tanager – SW Costa Rica and W Panama (Chiriquí E to Panamá Province).
  • C. f. flavopectus (Lafresnaye, 1840) – Yellow-breasted Bush-tanager – W slope of E Andes in Colombia from Santander S to vicinity of Bogotá.
  • C. f. trudis Olson, 1983 – W slope of E Andes at La Pica (between San Andrés and Málaga), in E Santander (Colombia).
  • C. f. nigriceps Chapman, 1912 – Colombia on E slope of W Andes at N end, both slopes of C Andes (S of exitelus), and W slope of E Andes (S of flavopectus and trudis to upper end of Magdalena Valley).
  • C. f. exitelus Olson, 1983 – both slopes of N end of C Andes in Antioquia (Colombia).
  • C. f. macarenae J. T. Zimmer, 1947 – Macarena Mts, in S Meta (Colombia).
  • C. f. olsoni Avendaño et al., 2013 – E slope of E Andes in Colombia from Boyacá S to Cundinamarca.
  • C. f. phaeocephalus P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1877 – both slopes of Andes in Ecuador.
  • C. f. hiaticolus O’Neill & T. A. Parker, 1981 – Andes of N Peru (S to Pasco).
  • C. f. cinereocephalus Taczanowski, 1874 – Buff-breasted Bush-tanager – Andes of C Peru (Junín, probably also N Cuzco).
  • C. f. ponsi Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1952 – Sierra de Perijá, on Colombia–Venezuela border.
  • C. f. falconensis Phelps, Sr & Gilliard, 1941 – N Venezuela (Sierra de San Luis, in Falcón, and Sierra de Aroa, in Yaracuy).
  • C. f. venezuelanus Berlepsch, 1893 – Common Bush-tanager – W slope of Venezuelan Andes (from Lara S to Táchira).
  • C. f. jacqueti Hellmayr, 1921 – N & SW Venezuela (Miranda and E slope of Andes from Lara S to Táchira) and W slope of E Andes (Norte de Santander) in Colombia.
  • C. f. eminens J. T. Zimmer, 1946 – E slope of E Andes in Colombia (S part of Norte de Santander and Boyacá).
  • C. f. peruvianus Carriker, 1933 – Andes of S Peru (Cuzco and Puno).
  • C. f. bolivianus Hellmayr, 1921 – Andes of N Bolivia (Cordillera de La Paz S to N end of Cordillera de Cochabamba).
  • C. f. fulvigularis Berlepsch, 1901 – Andes of C Bolivia (S Cordillera de Cochabamba).
  • C. f. argentinus Hellmayr, 1921 – Andes of C Bolivia (headwaters of R Mizque) S to N Argentina (Jujuy, Salta and Tucumán).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 13–18 g (bolivi­anus), 16–22·5 g (hiaticolus), 15·1–18·5 g (jacqueti), 19·1... read more


    Call notes include buzzy “tzit” repeated over and over, longer trilled “ts’... read more


    Humid montane forest and forest borders, especially mossy, epiphyte-laden forest, tall second... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small berries and fruit, in Costa Rica including fruits of Ericaceae, Melastomataceae and Gesneriaceae; also small arthropods. Of 49... read more


    Season Apr–Jun in Mexico, Mar–Jun in Costa Rica (up to two broods or two attempts), in breeding condition Mar to mid-Jul in W... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common virtually throughout its wide range. Deforestation a threat locally, but this species survives even in bushy second growth and along narrow... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Common Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus flavopectus). 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 18 February 2020).